Microsoft Publishes Key Specification for Integrating Web Services

REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 29, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. today released version 1.0 of the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) specification by openly publishing and submitting it to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) as an Internet draft. SOAP is a standards-based interoperability protocol that is gaining widespread support throughout the industry. Through its use of Internet standards XML and HTTP, SOAP enables new and existing applications to become Web services that communicate seamlessly. Microsoft plans to build support for SOAP into future versions of its Windows® DNA platform.

Today’s announcement garnered broad industry support from companies such as DevelopMentor Inc., Digital Creations, IONA Technologies PLC, Jetform, ObjectSpace Inc., Rockwell Software Inc., Rogue Wave Software Inc., Scriptics Corp., Secret Labs AB, UserLand Software Inc. and Zveno Pty. Ltd.

“Application integration on the Internet will be based on standard Web technologies such as HTTP and e-mail,”
said Annrai O’Toole, chief technical officer at IONA.
“The SOAP specification is a concrete step in the right direction and one that has the wholehearted support of IONA. We look forward to making software work together with SOAP support within our products.”

Previously, Microsoft submitted a version of the SOAP specification to the IETF for feedback and also invited input from key industry partners such as Rogue Wave and DevelopMentor. Version 1.0 of the SOAP specification incorporates that feedback.

“SOAP is a protocol for enabling the creation of true Web services,”
said Tod Nielsen, marketing vice president of the Developer Division at Microsoft.
“We have opened it to get as much feedback as possible and ensure that the final specification reflects the needs of the entire Web development community.”

The SOAP specification provides a common framework for integrating services on the Internet, spanning everything from Web sites to COM and CORBA applications. With SOAP, Web sites become Web services that work like sophisticated applications, accessible programmatically or through browser software, and allowing new levels of Web service aggregation. For example, an online telephone white pages Web site could expose a SOAP interface for searching, which could be utilized by a contact management application such as the Microsoft® Outlook® messaging and collaboration client if the requested name isn’t in the contact database.

“It is very important to get the support of a major platform vendor behind new distributed computing protocols based on the standards of the Internet,”
said Dave Winer, CEO of UserLand Software.
“By opening Windows-based networks to developers who are not using Microsoft APIs, Microsoft has fully embraced the spirit of the Internet. This could forever change the way people develop applications.”

SOAP is an Internet-savvy, open protocol, based on Internet standards XML and HTTP. It is easy to work with because it is simple; SOAP messages use plain text and are self-describing. In addition, because SOAP runs on top of standard HTTP, it can traverse firewalls in a safe manner that will enable truly distributed computing. SOAP is operating-system-, programming-language-, and-object-model-independent, and has implementations written in Java language, the Visual Basic® development system, Perl and TCL running on operating systems ranging from Windows to Linux.

SOAP is a key element of the Microsoft Windows DNA 2000 platform, a recently announced foundation for developing next-generation programmable Web services. Microsoft will use SOAP as the universal protocol for tying together the loosely coupled, message-based Web services that developers are seeking to build.

More information about SOAP can be obtained by visiting the Web site at or sending e-mail to [email protected].

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software – any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft, Windows, Outlook and Visual Basic are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

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