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XML and Distributed Computing

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In this first of a new series on the XML-based revolution in distributed computing, Frank Coyle looks at XML-RPC as an alternative to code-entric distributed computing models.
Frank Coyle is the author of Wireless Web: A Manager's Guide (Addison Wesley, 2001, ISBN 0-201-72217-8).


This is the first in a series of articles exploring the revolution in distributed computing brought about by the emergence of XML-based technologies that support distributed messaging and data exchange across the web, including these key technologies:

  • XML-RPC, the XML protocol for remote procedure calls, provides a data-centric alternative to the conventional distributed computing models such as CORBA, RMI, and COM+/DCOM. XML-RPC differs from these models in its ability to use existing web protocols such as HTTP and TCP/IP for communication and transport.

  • Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) provides XML-based messaging across the web. Building on XML-RPC, SOAP is a foundational technology for packaging requests for the discovery and assembly of software-based services over the web. SOAP is an important building block for extending the web from an infrastructure that primarily serves humans to one that serves both humans and computers in search of information and services.

This article looks at XML-RPC as an alternative to code-centric distributed computing models. Subsequent articles will look at XML-RPC in more detail and examine how XML-RPC and SOAP are driving new ways of thinking about XML and the web as a vehicle for delivering a new generation of web services.

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