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Subject: Section 2.4.5 Compliance with the SOAP Intermediary Model: initial questions and reservations

1. Versions: Is this section intended to apply to SOAP 1.2 only?

If so, is the first or second edition of 1.2 relevant?

2.There is a SOAP processing model mentioned in http://www.w3.org/TR/soap12-part1/ but nothing explicitly referred to by “SOAP intermediary model”

But consider Section 2.7 in the second edition, entitled, “Relaying SOAP Messages”:

As mentioned earlier in this section, it is assumed that a SOAP message originates at an initial SOAP sender and is sent to an ultimate SOAP receiver via zero or more SOAP intermediaries. While SOAP does not itself define any routing or forwarding semantics, it is anticipated that such functionality can be described as one or more SOAP features (see 3. SOAP Extensibility Model). The purpose of this section is to describe how message forwarding interacts with the SOAP distributed processing model.

ebMS does not make use of the SOAP Extensibility Model to define forwarding. Therefore, what we are doing is not what “is anticipated” So, should we really be discussing compliance? What exactly is it that we are complying with? WS-I has not released any conformance Rxxxx requirements targeted at intermediaries that I recall. We are not using the extensibility model. I think the title of our section 2.4.5 is misleading.


3. “It is assumed that ebMS Intermediaries are also SOAP intermediaries. By default all nodes in the multi-hop path act in the “next” role (http://www.w3.org/2003/05/soap-envelope/role/next).

Replace “by default” with “Therefore”

4. In the SOAP processing model for intermediaries, any header that is understood and processed must be removed from the SOAP message.

Remove “for intermediaries”

5. “If one wants the headers to be available to further SOAP processors on the message path the headers have to be “reinserted” in the SOAP message. When a SOAP intermediary does not process a header it may relay this header to the next SOAP node, i.e. not remove the header from the message.”

“As the routing function of the ebMS Intermediary requires processing of SOAP headers these headers are not subject to “relay” but to “reinsertion” [SOAP12]. As relaying does not apply to the ebMS headers, the @relay=”true” attribute should not be set. The ebMS routing function is then a “header reinsertion” case.

”NOTE: When the intermediary would reinsert header attributes by removing them first and then add them again this might break signatures. It is therefore strongly RECOMMENDED that intermediaries do not alter in any way the SOAP header of routed messages, i.e. implementations must consider the “reinsert” operation as a virtual extraction and reinsertion of header blocs. An intermediary implementation SHOULD NOT rebuild the SOAP header of routed messages by actually extracting then reinserting header blocks.”

Please reduce this to a statement of the required functionality and do not describe how implementation should occur (IMO!) Put something like “Header processing by an intermediary MUST not break digital signatures.”


7. NOTE: set the @role of all headers to “next”, as that does not seem to be a default in SOAP1.2 ?


The “@role” is a 1.2 attribute. What happens for SOAP 1.1? Why do we want all headers to have that role? Why is the wss header set that way? We at most only want to set the role value to “next” for the header containing metadata consulted by the intermediary. What about mustUnderstand? For the ebMS header, we do not want a mere SOAP intermediary to throw a SOAP fault because it does not grok ebMS. And we should architecturally allow mere SOAP intermediaries. But by targeting “next” and requiring ebMS header processing, we block things. We really need to understand which header needs to be targeted and what the target value should be? We might well be better off making up our own role value here.


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