SOAP is a wonderful technology that can help you in developing great applications. In this tutorial, we will investigate the use of SOAP in PHP.
Unless you have been living in a cave somewhere without Internet access for the last few years, you have undoubtedly heard of XML, SOAP and Multi-Tiered Application Programming. If you are like many programmers, including myself, you were quite taken aback by these ideas and technologies. You may have gone so far as to simply dismiss them as irrelevant to your skill set. It's time to wake up and realize they're here to stay... and for good reason!
XML and SOAP, and in turn Multi-Tiered Programming, are technologies that can take you from being a run of the mill code hacker to a professional application developer that actually builds cool things that work and which other people can work on. These technologies enable you to build applications that separate data from presentation, keep things organized and enable your application to scale as your needs and user base increases.
If you believe like I do that the Internet is the ultimate building ground of our future, then you have to see that the 'hackish' method in which most applications for the web are built and designed is pitiful. I know that I am quite guilty of it, myself. Many times I get an itch and I just scratch it without thinking of what the future holds or the maintainability of my application. Sure the job gets done; the itch has gone away momentarily. But when the itch comes back six months down the road and I have to add or modify features, I am utterly disappointed in myself over the sorry shape of my code.
You may be asking, how can XML and SOAP help me to avoid poor application design? Well, by themselves they won't help at all. First and foremost you must get yourself into the mind set that it needs to take place. XML and SOAP are just two tools that will allow you to accomplish your goal.
Today we will build a Web Service using SOAP. In doing so, I hope that you will become familiar with the technology so that you can start incorporating it into your future applications.