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RE: SOAP and the Web

xforms soap
>From: Paul Prescod
>Sent: Thursday, May 02, 2002 4:27 AM
>To: Francis Norton
>Cc: xml-dev
>Subject: Re:  SOAP and the Web
>XForms does not know anything about WSDL. After all the former is a W3C
>specification and the latter has only just begun its standardization
>process. And anyhow, they are kind of parallel specifications. WSDL is
>used to map the interface to a web site into an interface suitable for
>programmers. XForms is used to map it into an interface suitable for
>humans. There wouldn't be that much in common between them other than
>the XML Schema.

I think that's a good summary but it also steps around possibilities for
interactions among XForms, WSDL, and other lower-level entities such as
SOAP, XML-RPC, and the REST model.

XForms fills in the gap XML Schema and data on one side and user interaction
on the other, by binding device-independent names for kinds of interactions
(input, output, select, etc.) to nodes in an XML instance document described
by a Schema, and by decorating these interaction points with
accessibility-aware/I18N-aware human-readable information such as label,
help, and hint, and by providing for additional constraints on the data that
are more dynamic than what a Schema provides.  XForms is not a standalone
document format, and is intended to be used with other XML languages such as
XHTML and SVG and so on.  I personally think it would be a good summer
project for someone to look at a host language that uses XForms vocabulary
with WSDL; as you point out, WSDL and XForms would share a Schema.

As for the GET/POST/SOAP/REST collection of issues, when you submit an
XForms instance, it can be POSTed over HTTP in a variety of serialization
formats -- the structure can be flattened to multipart/form-data or
application/x-www-form-urlencoded, or it can be posted as XML as the body of
the POST.  XForms can also submit an instance by a GET over HTTP, with the
data flattened and serialized according to roughly HTML rules, module some
I18N issues.  (XForms is just past last call, so I'm speaking personally
about XForms generically here, not about a specific draft revision.)  

However, note that the XForms spec allows for some extensibility in the
submission method and serialization method; I'd be personally interested in
hearing if anyone has given thought to other serialization methods that
might simplify interaction with XML-based services such as WSDL/SOAP or a
nascent WSDL+REST or something else such as XML-RPC.  I think XForms 1.0
with its extension mechanism will provide a good testbed for these ideas.
And there's always 2.0...



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