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Understanding SOAP messaging

SOAP is a lightweight and simple XML-based protocol that is designed to exchange structured and typed information on the Web. The purpose of SOAP is to enable rich and automated Web services based on a shared and open Web infrastructure. SOAP can be used in combination with a variety of existing Internet protocols and formats including HTTP, SMTP, and FTP.

A SOAP message is an XML document that consists of a mandatory SOAP envelope, an optional SOAP header, and a mandatory SOAP body. This XML document is referred to as a SOAP message for the rest of this specification. The namespace identifier for the elements and attributes is defined in this section A SOAP message contains the following:

  • The Envelope is the top element of the XML document representing the message.
  • The Header is a generic mechanism for adding features to a SOAP message in a decentralized manner without prior agreement between the communicating parties. SOAP defines a few attributes that can be used to indicate who should deal with a feature and whether it is optional or mandatory.
    SOAP_IFS uses the Header for address data. Address data information that is used by Content Based Routing for routing the message to the correct destination(s).
  • The Body is a container for mandatory information intended for the ultimate recipient of the message. SOAP defines one element for the body, which is the Fault element used for reporting errors.
    IFS uses the Body to encapsulate the IFS xml-record.