Next April 26, SOAP turns 5 years old. Well, not the original SOAP, but SOAP 1.1 which really kicked off what I consider the Web services era. This is the version where IBM and Microsoft overhauled what had come before and, through our joint involvement, gave new focus to interoperable communication while taking advantage of XML, still relatively new.
The SOAP 1.1 spec was published on April 26, 2000, and two days later, April 28, IBM posted a Java implementation on alphaWorks for free. This was called SOAP4J. Over that first weekend, more than 400 copies were downloaded (which reinforced what we thought developers did on weekends!). Within a month or so, SOAP4J was donated to Apache and became the basis for Apache SOAP. So, by my reckoning, this makes IBM the very first company to donate code to open source for one of the modern web services standards (and SOAP 1.1 was certainly a de facto standard, though there is now an officially blessed W3C SOAP 1.2 standard).
When this spec was first published we were deluged with press requests and I, in my naivete, thought “wow, they must think this is a really cool spec”! Of course, for many people the real story was IBM working with the folks from Redmond for the first time since OS/2. We’ve worked on web services specs ever since, IBM contributing its years of experience on how to build reliable, scalable, secure enterprise applications and messaging infrastructure.
So, my question to you is, what should we do when SOAP turns 5 years old next April? Post your comments below.