Here’s how I see it. HTTP is the protocol, and no other protocols are required in order to get stuff done. I agree that WSDL does define protocols – application protocols in fact – but why is it required? I’m not sure how best to describe the difference, but Sam’s own neurotransmitters essay might be a start; “In the second mechanism, the receiver determines the action to be taken. The request matches a receptacle on the membrane and the cell uses this information to trigger biological processes.”. That is, the the “server” determines what is done, not the client. Using WSDL as a protocol definition mechanism (as practically all Web services use it), the client is asking that some action be taken by invoking some operation on the server. This is not the hormone/membrane, it’s the virus. For the hormone approach, the protocol data unit is simply “handed off” to the recipient without any specific request for action other than “hand off”. This is what POST means.