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SOAP : Simple Object Access Protocol. A ‘clean’ tool for remote procedure calls. What is SOAP?. Protocol for information exchange between applications via Internet. Defines a way of passing XML-encoded data, including binary content.

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soap simple object access protocol

SOAP : Simple Object Access Protocol

A ‘clean’ tool for remote procedure calls.

what is soap
What is SOAP?
  • Protocol for information exchange between applications via Internet.
  • Defines a way of passing XML-encoded data, including binary content.
  • Defines a way of performing remote procedure calls (RPCs).
where did soap come from
Where did SOAP come from?
  • Coauthored by representatives of IBM, Lotus, Microsoft, DevelopMentor, and UserLand.
  • Later submitted to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
  • Current SOAP development is the domain of the W3C XML Protocol Working Group
how does soap work
How does SOAP work?
  • Implements the request/response model of HTTP

A client sends a SOAP message to a server that processes the request and responds with a SOAP message of its own.

what is a soap message
What is a SOAP Message?
  • Two required components:
    • Envelope - packages the data
    • Body - is the data.
  • A third, optional component:
    • Header - contains descriptions about the message, data, and/or processing instructions.
sample soap message
Sample SOAP Message

POST /weather HTTP/1.1

Content-Type: text/xml; charset=utf-8

Content-length: XXX

SOAPAction: ""

<?xml version="1.0"?>





<weather:getWeatherConditions xmlns:weather="">

<latitude xsi:type="xsd:int">30</latitude>

<longitude xsi:type="xsd:int">50</longitude>




what is all this junk
What is all this junk?

<weather:getWeatherConditions xmlns:weather="">

<latitude xsi:type="xsd:int">30</latitude>

<longitude xsi:type="xsd:int">50</latitude>


  • The server has an object defined as ‘weather’.
  • ‘weather’ has a method called getWeatherConditions( int latitude, int longitude )

If we were processing data from the server and we wanted the weather conditions, we would request it by saying:

weather.getWeatherConditions( 30, 50 );

what could the response be
What could the response be?

<?xml version='1.0' ?>




<weather:conditions id="weather_id" xmlns:weather="">

<latitude>30 degrees</latitude>

<longitude>50 degrees</longitude>

<timestamp>04/12/2005 12:34:05</timestamp>

<temperature>36 degrees</temperature>

<description>It's looking like the perfect storm.</description>

<!-- ... more conditions go here... -->




how can soap send attachments
How can SOAP send attachments?

<weather:conditions id="weather_id" xmlns:weather="">

<aerialSnapshot href=""/>

<satelliteFeed href=""/>




whoi cms connectwhoi
  • WHOI CMS is an application that provides web-site driven services.
    • Homepage Builder, Site Builder Lite
    • WHOI Headlines, WHOI Housing
  • ConnectWHOI is an application that provides contact information services.
    • LDAP
    • Email Administrator
whoi cms connectwhoi cont d
WHOI CMS & ConnectWHOI cont’d
  • Information sharing achieved by SOAP
  • Homepage Builder
    • Updates to contact information makes a SOAP request to ConnectWHOI
      • WHY?
        • data requirements are met
        • Necessary systems receive changes
        • To comply with MVC framework of development – write once, use many
why use soap
Why use SOAP?
  • Platform & Language independent.
  • It is a W3C standard, a standard amongst the web services community, and it’s “eXstensible”
  • Allows for binary data attachments.
  • Enforce processing requirements with the ‘mustUnderstand’ attribute.
are there soap alternatives
Are there SOAP alternatives?
    • a precursor to SOAP
    • designed by Dave Winer of UserLand Software (also participated in the development of SOAP)
    • more lightweight and easier to implement
    • less full-featured
    • lacks support

Gentle Introduction to SOAP

A Busy Developer's Guide to SOAP 1.1

W3C Links:

SOAP Specification(W3C)

SOAP 1.2 Attachment(W3C)