Messaging - SOAP

SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) is a simple XML-based protocol to let applications exchange information (messages) over HTTP.

It enables to exchange information between applications which are coupled in a loose way. This means that the applications do not have to know about each other, nor have to be in contact with each other permanently. As SOAP works over HTTP, it works very well over firewalls, whereas this in not the case for e.g. RMI-IIOP.

Furthermore is software-language independent. There are SOAP implementations in Java, C# and Visual Basic (.NET) and even C++. This means that applications can easily exchange information even if they are written in different languages. The only requirement is that they are connected over the intra- or internet.

In Pharma applications, SOAP is not used very much yet. However, when you think e.g. about an automated way of exchanging information with the FDA, so that the latter always has the most recent information about your clinical trials or post-marketing clinical data, SOAP is very probable THE way to do this.

Although SOAP is in XML (character data), SOAP also works over HTTPS (secure socket), so that it can be made safe against unwanted readers.

Computer Chemistry Consultancy, August 2002