SOAP and Web Services

Web services is a term that has gained much attention. It is also a term of much debate, as the term itself is very misleading and generally considered to be an inaccurate description of the idea behind it. Most people prefer to speak directly of the protocol being used, and the protocol standardized by the W3C for Web services is SOAP.

What is SOAP? SOAP stands for Simple Object Access Protocol. First, however, it is important that you are familiar with a markup language called XML, Extensible Markup Language. Whereas HTML is designed specifically for the layout of information, XML is designed for the reliable interpretation of data. Consider the following two examples.

HTML:

 <table> <tr> <th>First Name</th> <th>Last ...

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