Lightweight containers vs. EJB: Don Box, Ted Neward, Rod Johnson, and more Russell’s Java 2SE 5 Complaints
Oct 04

Don’t Be Afraid to Drop the SOAP

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Man. Did the guys behind naming SOAP realize how much play there would be from the witty geeks? First we have Don Box giving a talk on SOAP from a bath tub on the stage.

Now we have Don’t Be Afraid to Drop the SOAP.

This piece goes through the experience of Sam Tregar, a developer who added SOAP support to the CMS system Bricolage, with high expectations.

Now he is only a new project, Krang, and he discusses why he is using a simpler XML approach rather than going down the SOAPy road again.


SOAP isn’t a bad technology, but it does have limits. My experience developing a SOAP interface for Bricolage taught me some important lessons that I’ve tried to apply to Krang. So far the experiment is a success, but Krang is young and problems may take time to appear.

Does this mean you shouldn’t use SOAP for your next project? Not necessarily. It does mean that you should take a close look at your requirements and consider whether an alternative implementation would help you avoid some of the pitfalls I’ve described.

The best candidates for SOAP applications are lightweight network applications without significant performance requirements. If your application doesn’t absolutely require network interaction, or if it will deal with large amounts of data then you should avoid SOAP. Maybe you can use TAR instead!

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