As of this writing, server-side implementations of SOAP services are virtually nonexistent. The few that do exist stray from the emerging standards and are likely to continue to morph as they discover what the users really want.
The most stable web service sample implementations come from Microsoft and IBM. In this section, we create a Python client that utilizes the calculator service that ships with Microsoft’s free SOAP Toolkit 2.0, available from http://msdn.microsoft.com. As such, the service must run on either Windows NT Server 4.0 or Windows 2000 Server. The clients may run anywhere COM runs. The toolkit sets up very easily on these platforms, and is ready to go after the install script is finished.
The Python client created in this section uses COM to connect with the MSSOAP type library objects, and interacts with the service. The clients can run on virtually all flavors of Windows, provided they have access to the services and WSDL files residing on the server. Note that the clients can easily (and probably most conveniently) run on the same machine as the servers.
SOAP and web services are new, and as such require the installation of software for developers who wish to experiment the technology. The rest of this chapter relies on COM; therefore, if you are not familiar with the workings of COM and Python, this section helps to get things set up.
The following steps are required in order to run the Python client ...