April 21, 2009

SOAP Client for Web Services Development

About two months ago, I discovered one of my favorite tools (to put in my programmers toolbox, of course) for developing software. I do a lot of work with web services, and the SOAP Client (actual url: http://www.soapclient.com/soaptest.html) is incredibly useful for testing and implementing web services.

The SOAP Client is useful for testing because it is so quick and easy. Just enter in the location of the WSDL and the SOAP Client can reach out and parse the web service into an easily understandable form, complete with help text. From here, you can test web services on the fly by entering values. This makes it easy to evaluate a web service before you go to the trouble of implementing it in a application.

Each method described in the WSDL file can be individually called from the SOAP Client. The client displays the web service request or the response according to the data that was input into text-fields. This request response information can be viewed in XML or HTML, depending on if the service is being tested (XML) or the client is being used to generate code for an application (HTML).

I use the SOAP Client in the following order:
  • Enter the WSDL location to ensure I'm calling the right service.
  • View the XML Response of a request to see if I am calling the right function.
  • View the HTML Request so I can drop it into my application.
  • View the HTML Response to the request to see if there is any tricky parsing needed.
This application saved me a lot of time and effort and has helped my Agile software development because I can quickly integrate web services. Also, I now only integrate the services I need, and am not worried about trying to generate java code from a WSDL - but that is something that I would love to try.

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