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Why adopt XML-based standards over CORBA?

Although there appears to be a broad and deep industry push to promote WSDL, SOAP and UDDI, there is no compelling reason to adopt XML based standards over CORBA. The criticism of CORBA has been that it is "too complicated", but the nature of distributed computing requires complexity. As Web services evolve from the demoware of Stock Prices for a given symbol or the current weather in a ZIP code, the oversimplifications in SOAP become immediately present. Vendor toolkits are forced to solve various problems ad hoc (session management, object lifecycle, transactions, etc), thus breaking the promise of interoperability for any real application. Similarly, marshalling and unmarshalling XML is orders of magnitude more expensive (in both bandwith and compute resources). How can you justify an XML-based initiative when the leading protocols are still half baked?
CORBA is a great mechanism to exchange structured data intelligently. Its perceived complexity arises from the fact that it is attempting to solve a complex problem. The opaqueness of the data and the need of an object request broker (ORB) on each side compound this problem. On the other side, XML protocols are mainly based and built around well-known and well-understood infrastructure elements, such as HTTP, SSL, TCP/IP, firewalls etc. All of this adds a level of transparency that is required by IT departments for auditing and securing corporate networks today. The verdict on whether SOAP, UDDI, or WSDL will be able to fill the functionality gap is still out. At this point in time SOAP looks promising and is actually useful for solving some problems, albeit much simpler than CORBA would allow. The adoption of CORBA, SOAP, or other methodologies by software vendors may ultimately determine which ones succeed.

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