SOAP frustrations

Martin v. Löwis loewis at
Thu Oct 17 13:50:36 CEST 2002

Andrew Dalke <adalke at> writes:

> Me:
>  >What I don't get is, I figure there's enough people doing web services/
>  >SOAP with Python that there shouldn't be these problems.
> Martin v. Loewis wrote:
> > Why do you think this is the case?
> Because I did a project with SOAP and Python over 2 years ago,
> using /F's soaplib.  (Python to Python SOAP.)

Looking at your complaints, this is no reason to expect what you
- ZSI does not work: Why would the state of soaplib have any effect
  on the state of ZSI?
- is written in unreadable code: Same question.

> Because there are at least 4 different SOAP projects, meaning
> there's enough interest for several different groups to not
> only develop a SOAP library but to make it public.

Maybe the reason for those people to develop a new library is that
they could not understand the old ones? Maybe the reason to publish
them was in the hope that users would contribute corrections and
improvements? Maybe neither corrections nor improvements materialized,
because nobody uses SOAP?

> Because 1) SOAP has been a buzzword for years, 2) Python projects
> are easy to develop, and 3) more obscure projects get developed
> with Python, so I figured the likelihood was high.

1) Being a buzzword means that many people experiment with it. If it
   is just a buzzword (instead of being truly useful), they leave off
   at the point where they realize that it does not do any good. In
   turn, the code base they leave behing will be hardly working and
   completely unmaintained. So something being a buzzword sounds like
   a guarantee to observe what you have observed.

2) So it is easier to start your own project than to use somebody
   else's code base. People get tricked into believing that things
   lose their inherent complexity by using Python. For something as
   complex as the Simple Object Access Protocol, Python can only help
   to manage the inherent complexity, not to avoid it. Or, if you
   avoid the inherent complexity, your code will be suitable just for
   your specific application. You seem to have observed that as well.

3) People working on more obscure stuff often do so because of a real
   need, instead just because of buzzword compliance. Their libraries
   are then often more reliable, since they have been used in real


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