What is the Simple Object Access Protocol

12.5.2014 Julian Blazek
The Simple Object Access Protocol or SOAP is a messaging framework that was developed by Dave Winer and team in collaboration with Microsoft in 1998. The framework has received vast amount of support from the .NET, Java and open source communities. The protocol has been used as a base for several web services projects, providing the system used for communication between other web services standards.

SOAP is also the standard specification for the exchange of structured information in implementing web services in computer networks. It is based on the XML Information Set for receiving its message format, and may also refer to other Application Layer protocols such as HTTP and SMTP for message cooperation and transmission.

Simple Object Access Protocol can create the foundation layer in the web services protocol stack as part of a messaging framework for developing web services. There are three components to the XML-based protocol – the envelope, encoding rules, and a principle to represent procedure calls and responses. The envelope identifies the message and decodes its processing method, and the encoding rules express the examples of application-based datatypes.

There are 3 main characteristics of SOAP. These are neutrality, extensibility and independence. Neutrality signifies that the protocol could be used over all the transport protocols including HTTP, TCP, JMS and SMTP. Independence means it allows any type of programming model.

The SOAP design addresses the messaging framework that involves many things. This includes the SOAP processing model that defines the rules to process SOAP messages. It also includes the extensibility model that defines the concepts of SOAP modules and features.

Then there is the basic SOAP protocol framework that describes the rules that define a connection to the fundamental protocol that could be used to exchange SOAP messages between nodes. The framework will also include the message construct that defines the structure of the message.

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