SOAP is the standard protocol for message exchange in web service environments. As an XML-based protocol, SOAP is not suitable for the transmission of large amounts of binary data. This fact has been addressed by the SOAP Messages with Attachments specification, which regulates the transfer of a SOAP message together with an arbitrary number of binary attachments composed within a MIME multipart/related message. Although this leads to a reduction of transmission overhead, web service communication using SOAP Messages with Attachments still lacks communication and processing flexibility. In this paper, we present a novel and more flexible way of handling attachments in SOAP-based web service environments. In contrast to SOAP Messages with Attachments, our approach offers message forwarding without additional communication cost and demand-driven evaluation and transmission of binary data, thus providing the opportunity to save time by overlapping service execution and data transmission.
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