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I have been searching for resources to learn (Java) Web Services. Although I have found a lot of resources and tutorials on JWS, I am confused with the version numbers, the abbreviations and Metro. Plus the last update to Metro was in 2008. Is it a worthwile thing to learn?

I wanted to learn how to access Web Services, since an upcoming project is about accessing one. I have some experience with OAuth on Twitter(using code available).

Things I know about the project:
I have to access a Web Service.
Java is the preferred platform to use(Although I know I can use any).
Axis can be used to access the Web Service(I have never used Axis)

I have a meeting scheduled to learn more, but I sure don't want to look silly since I am no Java expert, have never created or accessed Web Services using Java.

My Questions:

1.Can someone point me to a tutorial which will help me learn how to access a already running Web Service (Preferably SOAP(?), not REST. It's XML based)
2. Will you recommend using PHP or Python to do the work of accessing the web service?

I am expecting a lot of nay saying, but I hope I get some answers too. I will clarify things if needed.

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1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Web services are fundamentally the same across languages and platforms to the consumer. This is the whole push and benefit of a web service. It allows you to expose defined functionality which is accessible via multiple languages and platforms.

Typically the approach to consuming the web service is either to generate the classes statically or dynamically based on the defined WSDL for the given service. If you were to use Java you could make use of the Axis WSDL2Java tool which will will create the Java based classes as defined in the WSDL.

To your specific questions; a Python web service client based example can be found here. You can make use of flickr as they have an exposed web service with varying accepted request formats of which SOAP is one.

In terms of the language to use for consumption; that is up to you and what you are most comfortable using. If you are able to consume the web service in the native language you often gain benefits in doing so. When crossing technologies such as a .NET client consuming an Axis2 web service; certain oddities arise (granted web services is supposed to hide this).

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Thanks a lot I will look up Flickr's SOAP service. –  abel Jan 13 '11 at 17:41
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