SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol)

What is SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol)?

SOAP, or Simple Object Access Protocol, is a messaging protocol specification for exchanging structured information in the implementation of web services in computer networks. It relies on application layer protocols, primarily Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), for its messaging, and XML for its message format.

Understanding SOAP

SOAP is an essential part of web development and website design, particularly when dealing with web services and APIs. It provides a way to communicate between applications running on different operating systems, with different technologies and programming languages.

Main Features of SOAP

  • Extensibility: SOAP allows for any programming model and is extensible enough to allow for future upgrades.
  • Neutrality: SOAP can operate over any protocol such as HTTP, SMTP, TCP, or even over a simple message queue.
  • Independence: SOAP allows for any programming model and doesn’t tie the client and server to any particular technology or platform.

How SOAP Works?

SOAP is a protocol based on exchanging XML messages over a computer network, usually over HTTP. The SOAP messages are simple XML documents that follow a specific structure, containing the following:

  • Envelope: This is the root element of the SOAP message.
  • Header: This is where you can include optional attributes of the message used in processing the message, either at an intermediary point or at the ultimate end-point.
  • Body: This contains the XML data comprising the message being sent.
  • Fault: This optional element is used to hold status and error information.

Example of a SOAP Message



<SOAP-ENV:Envelope xmlns:SOAP-ENV="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/">

<SOAP-ENV:Header>

... header information ...

</SOAP-ENV:Header>

<SOAP-ENV:Body>

... body information ...

</SOAP-ENV:Body>

</SOAP-ENV:Envelope>

SOAP in Web Services

SOAP is commonly used in web services and APIs because it allows for cross-platform communication, making it an excellent choice for connecting disparate systems. It provides a way to send data in a structured and secure way, with high levels of flexibility and extensibility.

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