Web Services Hit the Fast Track

Arthur Cole

Arthur Cole spoke with Bharat Shah, manager of business development, OSS Nokalva, Inc.


Cole: For those who may not be familiar with the term Fast Web Services, what exactly are they and how do they differ from traditional Web services?
Shah: Fast Web Services, ITU-T X.892 | ISO/IEC 24824-2, is a standard that specifies an ASN.1 schema for creating binary SOAP messages, which carry the same semantics as W3C SOAP messages. This is an extension to the provision of Web services using W3C SOAP messages, without any change to the functionality of W3C SOAP and service description languages. Fast Web Services defines a high-performance alternative to traditional Web services.

Fast Infoset, ITU-T X.891 (2005) | ISO/IEC 24824-1, specifies a representation of an instance of the W3C XML Information Set using binary encodings. Fast Infoset technology provides an alternative to W3C XML syntax as a means of representing instances of the W3C XML Information Set. Fast Infoset encodings provide smaller encoding sizes and faster processing times than equivalent XML representations. Fast Infoset offers significant performance improvements without requiring any XML Schema.


Cole: Sun originally proposed the concept a number of years ago. Why has it taken so long to see actual product development?
Shah: In early 2003, OSS invited Sun to join the ASN.1 standards groups working on ASN.1 support for XML Infoset and Web services. These efforts later became the Fast Infoset and Fast Web Services standards. OSS, Nokalva and Sun were major contributors to the progress of this work. The FI Standard (ITU-T X.891 (2005) | ISO/IEC 24824-1) and FWS Standard (ITU-T X.892 | ISO/IEC 24824-2) were approved and released in May 2005. In July of 2006 OSS Nokalva released its Fast Web Services Tools. The OSS Fast Infoset Tools were made available earlier this year.


Cole: What are the main benefits of OSS's FSW and Fast Infoset toolkits?
Shah: The OSS Fast Web Services (FWS) Tools are ideally suited for those who use Web services in resource-constrained and/or bandwidth-constrained environments. These tools create and process highly efficient binary SOAP messages in accordance with the standard. Traditional XML SOAP messages are also supported, ensuring the exchangeability of SOAP messages with XML-based peers. The OSS FWS tools take advantage of your WSDL and XSDs to achieve maximum compression, yielding messages that are on average five times smaller than XML SOAP messages. Our parsing speed is about five times that of a traditional XML parser.

The OSS Fast Infoset (FI) tools offer an API for serializing/parsing a highly efficient, standards-based, binary form of XML data without the need for an XSD. The FI Tools can be used for arbitrary XML documents, producing binary FI documents that are, on average, two to three times smaller than XML documents. Fast Web Services use FI documents to carry the content of SOAP messages when no XSD is available. The FI tools serialize and parse FI documents up to five times faster than a traditional XML parser. A SAX-like parser is also included with the toolkit.

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