Trelane (trel) wrote in suggestions,

Web Services - SOAP/WSDL support

Web Services - SOAP/WSDL support

Short, concise description of the idea
The current XML-RPC web services API is very difficult to use due to the nature of XML-RPC. SOAP with WSDL is far easier to use and as a result would be more used, leading to new and interesting applications.

Full description of the idea
On behalf of programmers, I'd like to request that LiveJournal's API's be made available as SOAP interfaces defined by WSDL instead of just the current XML-RPC interface.

The key difference is that SOAP services, by virtue of their WSDL, are fully self-documenting. It is several orders of magnitude easier to use SOAP services since tools can generate the stubs necessary. That contrasts with XML-RPC where you need to create your proxy objects by hand and make sure that the correct XML is sent over as defined in the spec document--which is not machine readable.

There could be many new and interesting applications that get created if access to the data were made easier.


An ordered list of benefits

  • SOAP is far easier to use than XML-RPC.
  • WSDL fully describes all datatypes and messages needed; XML-RPC does not have a similar mechanism.
  • Web Services would make it easier to provide new features.
  • SOAP is more fully supported in Java and .NET than XML-RPC.
  • Additional extensions are in the works by the standards committees to cover very complex scenarios--those extensions are to SOAP, not XML-RPC.
  • An ordered list of problems/issues involved

  • There could be additional server load if the web services become popular.
  • The Web Service interfaces should be change controlled to prevent breaking existing clients with an update.
  • An organized list, or a few short paragraphs detailing suggestions for implementation

  • There is a perl toolkit called SOAP::Lite that has most of the core functions already in existence. Further, the book "Programming Web Services with Perl" should provide a good reference:
  • Tags: apis, § historical
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