Microsoft offers SOAP to IETF

Microsoft has submitted a software standard for opening Windows-based networks to developers not using Microsoft APIs to the Internet Engineering Task Force

Microsoft yesterday submitted the first version of its Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) specification to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) today for consideration as a standard.

SOAP, based on Internet standards such as HTTP and Extensible Markup Language (XML), enables Remote Procedure Calls to be sent as XML syntax across the Web's HTTP architecture. The specification will be built into forthcoming versions of Microsoft's Windows Distributed interNet Applications architecture.

The goal, according to company officials, is to offer a standards-based interoperability protocol that will enable "new and existing applications to become Web services that communicate seamlessly."

The protocol is key to Microsoft as it gears up for the rollout of Windows 2000, which is due to launch Feb. 17, 2000. After getting feedback from partners and major customers who are unhappy with the prospect of ripping out and replacing legacy and non-Windows systems, the company in the past couple of years has focused on interoperability with those and other infrastructures, such as Java. Microsoft officials hope that this approach will prove to be a selling point for Windows 2000, the upgrade to Windows NT 4.0.

"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, chief executive officer of UserLand Software, in a statement. "By opening Windows-based networks to developers who are not using Microsoft APIs (application programming interfaces), Microsoft has fully embraced the spirit of the Internet. This could forever change the way people develop applications."

The protocol was developed by Microsoft, UserLand, and DevelopMentor. Microsoft officials said several other companies, including Digital Creations, Iona Technologies, Jetform, ObjectSpace, Rockwell Software, Rogue Wave Software, Scriptics, and Secret Labs have endorsed SOAP.

Microsoft Corp., in Redmond, Washington, is at UserLand Software Inc., in Burlingame, California, is at

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