The Joys Of XML

I’m currently working on a project that requires posting and reading response online using XML. I’m not talking about web services here, it’s a plain old POST of an XML file, response is returned as copious amounts of XML, read that and build a web form based on the contents (yawn), have website user make selections and POST that back as plain old XML, get another response back as, yep you guessed correctly, XML and read that, make a decision based on the contents and voila, we’re done.

 I’m a little bit surprised that the company that runs this service, the bowels of which I am groping around in, has not developed a SOAP API or Web Services API that can be programmed against without the raw manipulation of XML (i.e. text) data. I’ve used the Amazon, PayPal and EBay API’s and while there is a hefty learning curve it is far more intuitive, in my humble opinion, to code against an API than against raw XML.

Whenever I start having to parse text files, I don’t care if we have XSD files and a schema, yada yada ya, I feel like I’m using old technology that is cumbersome, although it does the job, right. I know that the legacy of XML and the use of text goes back a long way, when it was far more difficult, time consuming etc to open up a port and configure a firewall, so passing text through was an easy solution.

I can only guess that this company has so much legacy code and systems that the move to a SOAP API and web services infrustructure is still in the pipeline. Just as there are still tons of companies that still use EDI right?

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