inessential by Brent Simmons


Since I work for myself, I can choose to be impolitic when I want to. So I’m going to say something I’m not supposed to say: I don’t like SOAP.

(Simple Object Access Protocol, that is. I like the other kind of soap.)

I like web services. And I’m glad when they’re implemented and adopted, even when they’re SOAP interfaces. Something is better than nothing. The trend is good.

But while XML-RPC is a thing of beauty, SOAP should have been named COAP—Convoluted Object Access Protocol.

It just plain offends me as a spec. People claim there are things SOAP can do that XML-RPC can’t do, but I remain unconvinced.

It’s a shame that for a spec to be adopted in the “enterprise” it requires a level of absurd obfuscation. It’s almost like a continuing employment clause for programmers. If you choose the psychotic spec, well, they can’t fire you, because they’ll need you too much.

It’s like IT managers choosing Windows because it’s harder to maintain, so they know their jobs won’t go away.

All that said, I’ll still use SOAP when necessary, of course.