Open source fans, don't let SOAP slip through your fingers. iSeries guru Roger Pence told attendees at The 400 Group's DevCon conference in October that Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) is one of several "must learn" technologies for iSeries programmers ( AS/400 guru Pence says go back to school). SOAP uses XML to provide a common messaging format for the Internet, linking applications and services across all operating systems, object models and programming languages. IBM recently embraced the interoperability protocol, and it has released its own version to the Apache XML Project ( Apache SOAP). For a detailed description of SOAP and links to white papers and articles, check out SOAP

A ZDNet article published last summer ( SOAP craze washes over app developers) shows that Microsoft is counting on SOAP to deliver on its promises for cross-platform and device interoperability. Microsoft also offers a useful, if somewhat dated, SOAP primer at Web Services and the Simple Object Access Protocol, and it links to its own SOAP white papers at SOAP Developer Resources. In the papers, Microsoft notes SOAP's advantages over DCOM and other object models and protocols, and it addresses concerns about the technology's security vulnerabilities.

IBM, meanwhile, posts a copy of the SOAP document it co-wrote with Microsoft, Lotus, UserLand and DevelopMentor at The document describes the SOAP message exchange model and features sample SOAP messages. (Devphiles International also has a brief tutorial with sample code and rules for syntax at

About the author: Baard is a contributing editor in Milton, Mass.

This was first published in November 2000

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