For Visual Studio 6.0 developers, the SOAP Toolkit is available for
download at http://msdn.microsoft.com/downloads/default.asp?URL=/
The SOAP Toolkit 2.0 provides a more robust Web service creation expe-
rience. It includes a client-side component that can be used to raise calls
across the Internet, contains a wizard that automatically generates
required .wsml and .wsdl files, and handles communication marshalling
across the Internet. If you are developing with Visual Basic 6.0 and want to
turn your DLLs into Web services, the SOAP Toolkit 2.0 is literally the only
way to go.
In .NET, SOAP is inherently part of the .NET Framework, so creating
and calling SOAP-based Web services is even easier than using the SOAP
Toolkit and client-side components associated with Visual Studio 6.0. Once
you install the framework, you have effectively established the foundation
for SOAP Web services.
The .NET Framework is free to download. If you want to experiment
with Web services but dont know where to start, go to http://msdn
and download the .NET Redistributable Framework. It contains all the
ingredients that are needed to run .NET Framework applications and
includes the CLR, the .NET Framework Class Library, and ASP.NET.
The download is only 21 MB, but pay attention to the hardware, soft-
ware, and installation requirements. Later in this book we delve into build-
ing .NET Web service consumers and providers, demonstrating how you
build them, and documenting how they work.
Several non-Microsoft development environments provide built-in
SOAP support. Because SOAP is now an industry standard, you can also
expect ever more platforms and products to support it.
The Pros and Cons of SOAP
Prior to .NET, leveraging SOAP on the client required the client to have the
SOAP client component installed on the clients PC to initialize the SOAP
object and make SOAP-based Web service calls. Although the SOAP
Toolkit doesnt require much space on a users machine, Internet options
sometimes need to be tweaked to support client-side calls. For the general
user, this could spell problems.
In addition to this, the SOAP-based Internet calls support a limited num-
ber of data types. If a developer is expecting unconventional in, out, or