Chapter 3. SOAP Data Encoding

When sending data over a network, the data must comply with the underlying transmission protocol, and be formatted in such a way that both the sending and receiving parties understand its meaning. This is what we refer to as data encoding. Data encoding encompasses the organization of the data structure, the type of data transferred, and of course the data’s value. Just like in Java, it is the data that gets serialized, not the behavior. Data encoding and serialization rules help the parties involved in a SOAP transaction to understand the meaning and content of the message. The model for SOAP encoding is based on XML data encoding, but the encoding constrains or alters those rules to fit the intended purpose of SOAP. I think you’ll find that the data requirements of most systems can be easily represented using the encoding rules presented here.

Schemas and Namespaces

Namespaces provide the mechanism used to determine how element and attribute names are interpreted. Because XML allows arbitrary element names, it needs a mechanism for specifying which dictionary should be used to look up the meaning of any given name. The encoding style defined in section 5 of the SOAP specification is the most commonly used encoding style in SOAP. This encoding style, which is defined in the schema referenced by the http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/encoding namespace, is often referred to as “SOAP Section 5.” In SOAP messages, this namespace is by convention referenced ...

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