Product Reviews

Sniffing SOAP

Mindreef SOAPscope can track SOAP requests crossing the wire.

Ordinarily, I'd wait for a tool to be released to review it. But in this case, the tool is so useful that it's worth looking at while it's still in beta -- with the added bonus that it's an open beta, so you can grab the bits and play with them yourself.

SOAP, as you probably know by now, is the Simple Object Access Protocol -- part of the essential glue that holds Web Services together. What SOAPscope does is implement the notion of packet sniffing with a nose specialized to SOAP messages.

The idea is simple. You install SOAPscope, it watches your network adapter for SOAP requests and responses. They go by, it snarfs them and saves them. Then later on you can look at the details, either in raw XML or in a friendlier pseudocode view. You can also set SOAPscope up as a proxy server to diagnose SOAP problems on a remote machine.

Other capabilities of SOAPscope include the ability to edit and then resend messages directly from the SOAPscope interface, and to view WSDL in XML or pseudocode. Definitely a nice way to get a handle on what's going on with Web Services on your computer or your network. You can download a free copy of beta 2 from the Mindreef website to try it out yourself. If you're writing Web Services, or just trying to figure out how they work, it's a must-have.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy, MCSE, MCSD, MCDBA, is a former MCP columnist and the author of numerous development books.

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