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Stands for "Service Oriented Architecture." When businesses grow, they often add new products and services. While these additions may help make the business larger, it is often difficult to implement them in an efficient manner. The goal of SOA is to make it easy for businesses to grow and add new services.
The Service Oriented Architecture is based on components that work seamlessly with each other. For example, a company sells clothing through an online store. After a few months of successful sales, the company decides to add a jewelry department. An SOA component conveniently adds a new section to the store, in this case, specifically for jewelry. The company then wants to add new shipping options. A SOA shipping component makes adding the new shipping options as easy as checking a few boxes in an administrative control panel. Initially, the company only offered e-mail support, but later decides that adding phone support would be beneficial. A phone support component allows the phone representatives to look up customer orders the same way the e-mail support specialists could.
Basically, SOA makes it possible for a business to add new features and services without having to create them from scratch. Instead, they can be added or modified as needed, making it simple and efficient to expand the business. Because many products and services are now offered via the Web, most SOA solutions include Web-based implementations.
Stands for "Simple Object Access Protocol," and can do more than just get your hands clean. SOAP is a method of transferring messages, or small amounts of information, over the Internet. SOAP messages are formatted in XML and are typically sent using HTTP (hypertext transfer protocol). Both are widely supported data transmission standards. HTTP, which is the protocol that Web pages are sent over, has the additional advantage of avoiding most network firewalls. Since firewalls usually do not block port 80 (HTTP) traffic, most SOAP messages can pass through without any problems.
Each SOAP message is contained in an "envelope" that includes a header and a body. The header may include the message ID and date the message was sent, while the body contains the actual message. Because SOAP messages all use the same format, they are compatible with many different operating systems and protocols. For example, a user can send a SOAP message from a Windows XP machine to a Unix-based Web server without worrying about the message being altered. The Unix machine can then redirect the message to the appropriate location or open the file using a program on the system. While most SOAP messages are sent over the Web via HTTP, they can also be sent via e-mail, using SMTP.