The Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP)

As useful as XML is for displaying data, perhaps one of the most powerful things that we can do with it is to use it to exchange data between different systems. After all, it's just text, and it's in an agreed-upon format, so that much should be easy.

The Simple Object Access Protocol, or SOAP, is intended as a way to use XML to accomplish Remote Procedure Calls, or RPC. RPC is used to execute some function or procedure on a completely different machine, usually without leaving the original program.

SOAP actually accomplishes this without inventing any new technologies. Instead, it takes the existing technologies of XML and HTTP, the underlying protocol of the Web, and combines them with an agreed-upon ...

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