The Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) is an XML based object invocation protocol. Developed originally as a means for distributed applications to communicate over HTTP and through corporate firewalls, SOAP has grown to become the cornerstone of Microsoft’s next generation of application development. Microsoft is trying to lay the foundation for a new type of programming paradigm, one that combines the standards of the internet with that of existing COM and COM+ object programming to create a web that is not only content rich but programmable.

Unlike inter-computer communication technologies of the past, embedded devices are able to play in the world of WebServices based on XML and SOAP. The open nature of XML, the standardization of networking protocols, the proliferation of TCP/IP stacks for embedded devices and the strong processing power of embedded CPUs all culminate in the ability for devices to interact and leverage WebService technology.

The key understanding how to take advantage of WebServices from an embedded device is first learning about the building blocks that are available to you as a developer. Although I will center around the technologies available on Windows CE, the information can be applied to almost any embedded operating system.