What is SOAP?
SOAP is a messaging protocol specification for exchanging structured information in the implementation of web services in computer networks. Its purpose is to provide extensibility, neutrality, verbosity and independence.
SOAP is an XML-based messaging protocol. It defines a set of rules for structuring messages that can be used for simple one-way messaging but is particularly useful for performing RPC-style (Remote Procedure Call) request-response dialogues. It is not tied to any particular transport protocol though HTTP is popular. Nor is it tied to any particular operating system or programming language so theoretically the clients and servers in these dialogues can be running on any platform and written in any language as long as they can formulate and understand SOAP messages. As such it is an important building block for developing distributed applications that exploit functionality published as services over an intranet or the internet.