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We have an employee whose last name is Null. He kills our employee lookup application when his last name is used as the search term (which happens to be quite often now). The error received (thanks Fiddler!) is

   <faultstring>coldfusion.xml.rpc.CFCInvocationException: [coldfusion.runtime.MissingArgumentException : The SEARCHSTRING parameter to the getFacultyNames function is required but was not passed in.]</faultstring>

Cute, huh?

The parameter's type is string.

I am using:

  • WSDL (SOAP).
  • Flex 3.5
  • ActionScript 3
  • ColdFusion 8

Note that the error DOES NOT occur when calling the webservice as an object from a ColdFusion page.

Answered By: doc_180 ( 96)

The problem could be in Flex' SOAP encoder. Try extending the SOAP encoder in your Flex application and debug the program to see how the null value is handled. My guess is, it's passed as NaN (Not a Number). This will mess up SOAP message unmarshalling process sometime (most notably in JBoss 5 server...). I remember extending the SOAP encoder and performing an explicit check on how NaN is handled.

(On a side note, are you expected to do something useful if employee id is Null, is this not an validation issue? I could be wrong, since I hardly know the requirement...)


I am having a lot of trouble finding good information on how to call a standard SOAP/WSDL web service with Android. All I've been able to find are either very convoluted documents and references to "kSoap2" and then some bit about parsing it all manually with SAX. OK, that's fine, but it's 2008 so I figured there should be some good library for calling standard web services.

The web service is just basically one created in NetBeans. I would like to have IDE support for generating the plumbing classes. I just need the easiest/most-elegant way to contact a WSDL based web service from an Android based phone.

Answered By: foxxtrot ( 111)

Android does not provide any sort of SOAP library. You can either write your own, or use something like kSOAP 2. As you note, others have been able to compile and use kSOAP2 in their own projects, but I haven't had to.

Google has shown, to date, little interest in adding a SOAP library to Android. My suspicion for this is that they'd rather support the current trends in Web Services toward REST-based services, and using JSON as a data encapsulation format. Or, using XMPP for messaging. But that is just conjecture.

XML-based web services are a slightly non-trivial task on Android at this time. Not knowing NetBeans, I can't speak to the tools available there, but I agree that a better library should be available. It is possible that the XmlPullParser will save you from using SAX, but I don't know much about that.

Wessam Zeidan

I have a WCF service and I want to expose it as both a RESTfull service and as a SOAP service. Anyone has done something like this before?

Answered By: codemeit ( 339)

You can expose the service in two different endpoints. the SOAP one can use the binding that support SOAP e.g. basicHttpBinding, the RESTful one can use the webHttpBinding. I assume your REST service will be in JSON, in that case, you need to configure the two endpoints with the following behaviour configuration

  <behavior name="jsonBehavior">

An example of endpoint configuration in your scenario is

  <service name="TestService">
    <endpoint address="soap" binding="basicHttpBinding" contract="ITestService"/>
    <endpoint address="json" binding="webHttpBinding"  behaviorConfiguration="jsonBehavior" contract="ITestService"/>

so, the service will be available at

Apply [WebGet] to the operation contract to make it RESTful. e.g.

public interface ITestService
   string HelloWorld(string text)

Note, if the REST service is not in JSON, parameters of the operations can not contain complex type.

Reply to the post for SOAP and RESTful POX(XML)

For plain old XML as return format, this is an example that would work both for SOAP and XML.

[ServiceContract(Namespace = "http://test")]
public interface ITestService
    [WebGet(UriTemplate = "accounts/{id}")]
    Account[] GetAccount(string id);

POX behavior for REST Plain Old XML

<behavior name="poxBehavior">


  <service name="TestService">
    <endpoint address="soap" binding="basicHttpBinding" contract="ITestService"/>
    <endpoint address="xml" binding="webHttpBinding"  behaviorConfiguration="poxBehavior" contract="ITestService"/>

Service will be available at

REST request try it in browser,

SOAP request client endpoint configuration for SOAP service after adding the service reference,

    <endpoint address="" binding="basicHttpBinding"
      contract="ITestService" name="BasicHttpBinding_ITestService" />

in C#

TestServiceClient client = new TestServiceClient();

Another way of doing it is to expose two different service contract and each one with specific configuration. This may generate some duplicates at code level, however at the end of the day, you want to make it working.


Is REST a better approach to doing Web Services or is SOAP? Or are they different tools for different problems? Or is it a nuanced issue - that is, is one slightly better in certain arenas than another, etc?


Now, almost three years later I would like to ask this question again - offering a bounty to encourage an indepth answer. I would especially appreciate information about those concepts and their relation to the PHP-universe and also modern high-end web-applications.

Answered By: mdhughes ( 270)

I built one of the first SOAP servers, including code generation and WSDL generation, from the original spec as it was being developed, when I was working at Hewlett-Packard. I do NOT recommend using SOAP for anything.

The acronym "SOAP" is a lie. It is not Simple, it is not Object-oriented, it defines no Access rules. It is, arguably, a Protocol. It is Don Box's worst spec ever, and that's quite a feat, as he's the man who perpetrated "COM".

There is nothing useful in SOAP that can't be done with REST for transport, and JSON, XML, or even plain text for data representation. For transport security, you can use https. For authentication, basic auth. For sessions, there's cookies. The REST version will be simpler, clearer, run faster, and use less bandwidth.

XML-RPC clearly defines the request, response, and error protocols, and there are good libraries for most languages. However, XML is heavier than you need for many tasks.


I've never used SOAP before and I'm sort of new to Python. I'm doing this to get myself acquainted with both technologies. I've installed SOAPlib and I've tried to read their Client documentation, but I don't understand it too well. Is there anything else I can look into which is more suited for being a SOAP Client library for Python?

Edit: Just in case it helps, I'm using Python 2.6.

Answered By: Samat Jain ( 176)

Unfortunately, at the moment, I don't think there is a "best" Python SOAP library. Each of the mainstream ones available has its own pros and cons.

Older libraries:

  • SOAPy: Was the "best," but no longer maintained. Does not work on Python 2.5+

  • ZSI: Very painful to use, and development is slow. Has a module called "SOAPpy", which is different than SOAPy (above).

"Newer" libraries:

  • SUDS: Very Pythonic, and easy to create WSDL-consuming SOAP clients. Creating SOAP servers is a little bit more difficult.

  • spyne: Creating servers is easy, creating clients a little bit more challenging. Documentation is somewhat lacking.

  • ladon: Creating servers is much like in soaplib (using a decorator). Ladon exposes more interfaces than SOAP at the same time without extra user code needed.

  • pysimplesoap: very lightweight but useful for both client and server - includes a web2py server integration that ships with web2py.
  • SOAPpy: Distinct from the abandoned SOAPpy that's hosted at the ZSI link above, this version was actually maintained until 2011, now it seems to be abandoned too.

Of the above, I've only used SUDS personally, and I liked it a lot.