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WS-MTOM Policy submitted to W3C


For years people have debated that "SOAP is too slow" and Web Services are just marketing hype. Although it is fair to say that SOAP is slow, it's getting better and one of the more interesting advances came with the development of the SOAP Message Transmission Optimization Mechanism (MTOM) specification. MTOM has quickly become an important component within the Web Services developers arsenal, offering the composability of base64 with the transport efficiency of SOAP with attachments. But unfortunately it wasn't tied into the rest of the Web Services architecture: there was no standard way for services to advertise that they were "MTOM ready". Until today that is.

IBM and Microsoft have recently submitted WS-MTOMPolicy to W3C. This has now been acknowledged by W3C, which opens the way for a standardization effort around this. As the abstract says:

This specification describes a domain-specific policy assertion that indicates endpoint support of the optimized MIME multipart/ related serialization of SOAP messages defined in section 3 of the SOAP Message Transmission Optimization Mechanism specification. This policy assertion can be specified within a policy alternative as defined in WS-Policy Framework and attached to a WSDL description as defined in WS-PolicyAttachment.

With this combination of WS-Policy and MTOM, it's soon going to be possible for Web Services across enterprise boundaries to advertise their MTOM capabilities. This could be one of the first practical uses of WS-Policy.

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