In April of 2007, the World Wide Web Consortium released a collection of four documents as W3C recommendations. Together these documents enshrine a SOAP 1.2 Second Edition as the latest and greatest definition of XML-based information suitable for exchanging structured and typed information between peers in a runtime environment that is both distributed and decentralized.

Of course, SOAP has been in use for some time now. The original SOAP 1.2 recommendations were released in 2003. The Second Edition of the core SOAP documents are interesting to look at, because the W3C has taken great pains to make sure that changes are easy to see (additions appear in green, changes in yellow and deletions in washed-out red). According to the organization, the Second Edition of SOAP 1.2 "incorporations corrections for the known errata" in the first edition.

The new documents are as follows:

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A quick perusal of the additions, changes and deletions shows nothing earth-shattering going on here. It isn't until you look at the implementation summary that you begin to understand the otherwise unexpected and possibly overblown air of concern surround W3C: there apparently hasn't been much progress in updating information about SOAP implementations (this document is dated April 2003) nor with related efforts related to the SOAP Message Transmission Optimization Mechanism (MTOM), XML-binary Optimized Package (XOP) and Resource Representation SOAP Header Block (RRSHB) implementations.

In fact, it looks like upcoming work on XML Protocol Requirements, XML Protocol Usage Scenarios and the MTOM Serialization Policy Assertion 1.1 are what drove the W3C to clean up its SOAP act. As yet, the outcome of these efforts is not yet determined, but it should be interesting to see what follows next. The good news is that most developers who've used SOAP 1.2 (First Edition) in their code shouldn't be too affected by changes to synch up with Second Edition.

About the author

Ed Tittel is a full-time writer and trainer whose interests include XML and development topics, along with IT Certification and information security topics. Among his many XML projects are XML For Dummies, 4th edition, (Wylie, 2005) and the Shaum's Easy Outline of XML (McGraw-Hill, 2004). E-mail Ed at with comments, questions or suggested topics or tools for review.

This was first published in August 2007

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