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O'Reilly Network: XML-RPC in Python

Dec 03, 2000, 12:45 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Dave Warner)

"The Internet, with its simple protocol and ubiquity, has opened up huge opportunities for programs to communicate between computers, a task that always seemed complex and daunting in the past. Now there is a new dilemma. Which framework should you use for automating communication?"

"What many developers have done is to use what is in place and what works now. And what works is XML-RPC. It's easy, quick, and consistent. XML-RPC fits a "glue" role that its big brother, SOAP, cannot. If you are looking for a large-scale framework for communicating between diverse servers and enterprise functionality like automated discovery of services, then XML-RPC will not fit. XML-RPC is, however, a quick, easy-to-use, reliable means of communicating between distributed locations, without worrying about what language the "other guy" has used. XML-RPC is a hybrid solution. It's not strictly object-oriented. The "RPC" portion of the acronym stands for Remote Procedure Call. RPC is very simple -- a user sends a request over the network to a specific location and receives a reponse. If this sounds suspiciously familar, it is -- the Web works this way. The death-knell for RPC was heard in the 1990s. Its developers were unable to standardize on the structure of data. Sun did try to implement a standard in XDR. It never quite caught on. With the rise of object-oriented programming, RPC fell into disfavor. By adding XML to the RPC portion, a standard, popular structure for data has been added to the process, breathing new life into RPC. So why use it?"

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