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Network World — IBM lathers up with SOAP

Wednesday, May 9, 2001

Network World — IBM lathers up with SOAP
BY Sandra Gittle
May 9, 2001

You may already know that I truly believe in the Simple Object Access Protocol. I’ve been touting it for a year now and am waiting with baited breath to see how much of an impact it’s going to have.

Well a recent site visit to IBM’s offices in Cambridge, Mass. gave me another reason to believe in the protocol.

IBM is deeply integrating SOAP into its Web strategy and believes that the protocol will bridge the gap between legacy applications and next-generation Web services. SOAP enables companies to wrap their old apps in coding so that they can be accessed via the Web.

But how will everyone know that these apps are out there? Well IBM, with its partners Ariba and Microsoft, plans to use the universal description, discovery and integration (UDDI) Business Registry as the platform for publishing a directory of SOAP-wrapped applications.

In its simplest form, the UDDI registry lets companies identify their business information and offerings via a common platform at no cost. It also lists how best to do business with the company and what operating platforms and applications it supports.

IBM says it envisions the registry to also list Soap applications that can be accessed via the Web.

John Patrick, vice president of Internet technology at IBM, says that companies could offer these applications for free or license them for a fee. Whatever payment model companies decide on, Patrick says SOAP-wrapped applications will end up saving companies time and money when developing their own Web applications.

For example, if an e-business starts to sell products overseas, they would need an application for figuring out the shipping costs in various currencies. With the UDDI registry, they could do a search, find out which companies have already developed this, license it (free or for a fee), and then, using SOAP, invoke it on their own network.

Companies today are spending a fortune on reinventing the wheel with applications that already exist elsewhere on the Web. SOAP, paired with the UDDI registry, could be just the right combination to let companies focus on innovation, not reinvention.

Sandra Gittlen is events editor for Network World’s Seminars and Events Group. Previously, she was managing editor of Network World Fusion and senior reporter covering Internet research and standards for Network World magazine. She can be reached at [email][email protected][/email].