We're nearing the end of one decade -- whatever it's called -- and entering another. No name for the next decade either -- the 20-teens?
James Turner, writing over at O'Reilly Radar, just published a list of the best and worst tech developments of the most recent decade, and guess what placed the top of his "worst" list? Yes, SOAP, the foundation of Web services and by extension, many SOA efforts. It ranks right up there with the intellectual property wars and the "cult of Scrum."
As Turner points out:
"The software industry has been trying to solve the problem of making different pieces of software talk to each other since the first time there were two programs on a network, and they still haven't gotten it right. RPC, CORBA, EJB, and now SOAP now litter the graveyard of failed protocol stacks.
"SOAP was a particularly egregious failure, because it was sold so heavily as the final solution to the interoperatibility problem. The catch, of course, was that no two vendors implemented the stack quite the same way, with the result that getting a .NET SOAP client to talk to a Java server could be a nightmare. Add in poorly spec'd out components such as web service security, and SOAP became useless in many cases. And the WSDL files that define SOAP endpoints are unreadable and impossible to generate by hand (well, not impossible, but unpleasant in the extreme.)"
Well, for something that started out as the Simple Object Access Protocol, it really did catch on during the decade, and still persists as a popular protocol for service delivery. But it is one method of service delivery among several. By the way, AJAX got top honors as the "best," along with Twitter and ubiquitous WiFi. Sorry, SOAP fans.