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W3C brushes up SOAP standard

Standards body the World Wide Web Consortium is close to finalizing version 1.2 of a standard for transporting data between Web services.

Standards body the World Wide Web Consortium said Wednesday that it is close to finalizing an upgrade to an important Web services protocol called SOAP.

Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) acts as a transport mechanism to send data between applications or from applications to people. SOAP, along with Extensible Markup Language (XML) and the Web Services Description Language (WSDL), is considered to be the foundation of Web services, a series of standards that makes it easier to share information between disparate systems.

Software companies incorporate the latest Web services standards into their products to ensure that applications have an agreed-upon method for sending data within a company or between business partners. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) said it has a proposed recommendation for SOAP 1.2, which puts this version in prime position to become an official standard.

"Starting today, developers who may have hesitated to pick up SOAP 1.2 should take a look," Tim Berners-Lee, director of the W3C, said in a statement.

The W3C stewards a number of critical Web services standards, including XML, SOAP and WSDL. However, the most recent Web services standard proposals, including Web Services Security and Web Services Business Process Execution Language, have been submitted to another standard body, the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards.

Version 1.2 of SOAP includes enhancements designed to simplify Web services development with SOAP toolkits, the W3C said. SOAP 1.2 introduces a "processing model" that allows a developer to establish rules on how SOAP messages are handled. It also has a number of XML-oriented enhancements that will make it easier to manipulate data formatted as XML documents, the W3C said.

The W3C has resolved a number of lingering problems with SOAP 1.1 and can demonstrate working versions of SOAP 1.2, according to Berners-Lee.