ebXML gets a piece of SOAP
08:49, 26 Feb 2001 UTC | Eric van der Vlist

UN/CEFACT and OASIS have formally announced that they are to integrate the SOAP 1.1 and SOAP with Attachments specifications into the ebXML Messaging Specification.

This announcement signals the end of the rivalry between SOAP and ebXML, a competition that had reached its climax during a speech by Jon Bosak, in which he stated that SOAP was not reliable enough to be used in mission critical ebXML applications.

The main technical obstacle appears though to have been support for attachments and MIME types, a requirement for ebXML not met by SOAP 1.1. IBM, Oracle, HP and others involved in both SOAP and ebXML haven't backed the position taken by Sun.

The integration of SOAP in the ebXML architecture was therefore predictable, after Microsoft and others submitted a proposal for SOAP messages with attachments as a W3C Note.

Strategic move or pragmatic decision?

Andrew Layman, Microsoft's XML Architect, sees this announcement as a step forward to a "SOAP everywhere" architecture:

By adopting SOAP in their messaging layer, ebXML puts to rest any worries about interoperability between SOAP and ebXML. This takes advantage of SOAP's role as a key component of XML-based messaging

While ebXML chair Klaus-Dieter Naujok draws a relation between the integration of SOAP and the ability to deliver ebXML in time:

We're committed--not only to integrating ebXML Messaging with SOAP--but also to completing this work in time to meet our original goal of delivering ebXML in May 2001.

And ebXML Messaging Services Project Team Leader Rik Drummond is more concrete about practical benefits:

By incorporating SOAP into ebXML, we streamline acceptance and reduce the cost of product implementation for all companies, regardless of their size.

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