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What are the components of the two major SOAP camps, .NET and J2EE?

What are the components/boundaries of the two major SOAP camps, .NET and J2EE? There are many different configurations out there and I am not sure how and where all the different components fit in to the Web services model.

The boundary of the two major SOAP camps is simply language/platform. When working with J2EE, you're developing your Web services in Java, and they can be deployed in a suitable J2EE server. When working with .NET, you're developing your Web services in VB, C#, or some other .NET-compatible language, and they can be deployed on a .NET-compliant operating system (Windows XP or Windows 2000). (I bristle a bit at the term "camps". I don't feel a sense of battle. The two groups are working very well together to advance the technology.) Most SOAP implementations (aka SOAP runtime servers) support all of the above listed technologies. Some of the older implementations don't support WSDL and UDDI. Some support only a subset of the XML Schema type system. These inconsistencies currently make cross-platform interoperability a little bit challenging, but these issues will be short-lived. Within the next 3-6 months, most of the basic interoperability issues will be resolved.

The idea is that you can use any SOAP implementation to create a Web service. You describe the service using WSDL. You register the service in UDDI. A consumer finds the service in UDDI, locates the WSDL description, creates a client interface to the service from the WSDL (using any SOAP implementation), and communication happens.

The differences between SOAP runtime servers is somewhat equivalent to the differences between J2EE application servers. From 50,000 feet, they all do essentially the same thing.


This was last published in April 2002

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