The World Wide Web consortium (W3C) has given recommendation status to the latest version, 1.2, of the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) specification – a protocol used for exchanging structured information in distributed Web services environment.

A W3C recommendation is the equivalent of a Web standard, indicating that the W3C-developed specification is stable, contributes to Web interoperability and has been reviewed by the W3C membership, the W3C said in a statement.

One of the largest complaints around using SOAP and Web services standards, which are based on Extensible Markup Language (XML), is the massive performance hit that organizations take when they start moving over to XML, explained Toronto-based David Senf, senior analyst, e-business solutions at IDC Canada Ltd.

“XML tags add a lot of extra weight to a file. You’re also adding in a lot more processing…and more computational power — that takes a lot of time,” he said. “What the 1.2 spec allows is to compress the data so it’s easier to transport over the wire and also provide for a better performance. This addresses some of the issues around the performance hit that organizations have been taking, who have actually wanted to leverage the interoperability of Web services.”

This enhanced interoperability capability improves organizations’ ability to leverage functionality from another company and allows their Web services to be interoperable.

Senf said IDC Canada is also looking forward to the Web Services Description Language (WSDL) 1.2 recommendation, expected in 2004, to further evolve the specification.

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