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From Glen Daniels <>
Subject FEEDBACK REQUESTED - Issues regarding Array encoding for SOAP 1.2
Date Thu, 13 Dec 2001 16:44:47 GMT

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Hi folks!

The XML Protocol WG would like to solicit some feedback with regard to array
encoding.  The particular issues (from our issues list) related to this are
#s 144 [1] and 161 [2], with Jacek's latest proposal at [3].  I'll briefly
summarize the issues, and then present our current list of potential options
in hopes that you who are actually using and implementing this stuff can
help to guide us in making some decisions.

ISSUE 144 - the basic problem here is that the arrayType element in SOAP 1.1
blurs several pieces of information (the type of array elements and the
dimensionality/size of the array) into one string which then must be
"micro-parsed" in some fairly complicated ways.  The ensuing discussion also
questioned the utility of sparse/Partially-Transmitted (P.T.) arrays.

ISSUE 161 - this is essentially a bad word choice in the spec, where array
members are spec'ed as "independent elements" when in fact they aren't.

At a recent meeting, we decided that the group liked the bulk of Jacek's
proposal, which solves issue 144 by splitting out the arrayType attribute
into two (arraySize and itemType) and also deals with issue 161 (by
replacing the offending wording).

The point on which we decided more discussion was required involved whether
to eliminate sparse arrays entirely.  Essentially some felt that P.T. arrays
were too complicated for the base spec, and if you wanted to do, for
instance, a sparse update of a large database, you could do it by sending an
array of offset/value pairs.  Others felt the sparse array use-cases were
compelling and we should definitely leave them in the spec.

So, the questions to you are these:

1) Do you use P.T./sparse arrays currently?  If so, what are the scenarios
(array updates, avoiding sending lots of nulls, etc...)?

2) Would it bother you to see them go away in SOAP 1.2?

Thanks very much in advance for any information you can provide.



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