SOAPy Madness

by Charles Miller on December 9, 2002

Question 153 of the Undernet #java FAQ reads:

Can I make an IRC chat client with SOAP?

Hmm. It's possible, but everything's possible. It's completely implausible. SOAP manages to maintain state through sessions, but the concept of long-running transactions like an IRC client would require is... sickening.

I've only ever written two SOAP applications. The first was “Hello World”, except it would give back a random quote from the fortune file instead of the boring Hello.

The second was truly diabolical. It was a tunneling proxy. It tunneled TCP/IP. Any TCP/IP whatsoever. Over SOAP.

Hey, I was bored.

Anyway, I tested this proxy by connecting my IRC client to it. It worked perfectly, albeit rather choppily, as the stream was being broken up into lots of little XML documents, turned into HTTP requests and then being reconstituted at the other end of the tunnel.

And yes, it was sickening, but in a compelling, car-crash kind of way.

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