David Megginson david at
Tue Jan 18 20:11:11 GMT 2000

Miles Sabin <msabin at> writes:

> I'm having trouble seeing why XML over HTTP is preferable to
> eg. CORBA or Java RMI (maybe tunneled through HTTP if there's
> a need to traverse firewalls) for application specific comms.
> How is application specific markup better than an application
> specific binary wire protocol?

For many applications, especially inside the firewall, XML over HTTP
is not the better choice.

However, for devices with unreliable connectivity (say, home
computers, portables, handhelds, etc.), it is very convenient to be
able to take an object's state and send it out in a single
transaction, and even inside the firewall it's sometimes useful to be
able to write an object's state to disk and transfer it from a secure
machine to a public machine by sneakernet (or likewise, by secure
courier between two different companies).

In other words

  Intranet = good connectivity = few users = stateful = CORBA/RMI
  Internet = bad connectivity = many users = stateless = XML/RDF/XMI

This is, of course, a gross oversimplification, but it's at least a
good starting point.

All the best,


David Megginson                 david at

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