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BYTE.com

BYTE Magazine > Features > 1999 > August

Exploring XML-RPC

(Exploring XML-RPC:  Page 1 of 5 )

In This Article
Exploring XML-RPC

Web components 101

The XML Dimension

Anatomy Of An XML-RPC Transaction

DCOM? CORBA? RMI? Why Not Just XML-RPC?
At UserLand Software, Dave Winer recently deployed the kind of simple, elegant, and useful application of Internet technology that always puts a smile on my face. At his site, you can run a Mail To The Future application that enables you to send mail to yourself (or, actually, anyone) at some future date.

This is, all by itself, a wonderful idea.

Even more wonderful, in my opinion, is how Dave did it, and the deep (positive) consequences of his approach: using some of the features of XML, he implemented control of the CGI-based service in a way that not only lets it be invoked interactively by a person employing a Web browser, but also, just as readily, by another script -- in the language of distributed computing, by using a Remote Procedure Call (RPC).

I could, for example, use it as an HTTP-based reminder component built into a groupware or workflow system of my own devising. To do that, I'd follow the procedure outlined in a previous article, (Measuring Web Mindshare). There, I showed how it's possible to combine Yahoo and Alta Vista to measure the inbound links to a list of sites in a given category. And I pointed out that every Web site that offers a CGI-based service is, potentially, a programmable component that can be woven into another Web application.

What's this got to do with XML? In addition to revolutionizing content management, XML is going to change how we build and use Web- based software components. In this article, I'll demonstrate one way that XML can do that. But first, let's review the basics of HTTP-style component programming.

 

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