Review: SOAPscope 3.0

SOAPscope 3.0
Mindreef, Inc.
Hollis, New Hampshire
(603) 465-2204

I've reviewed SOAPscope before, but the company has just pushed out another major update -- major enough that it definitely warrants another look. SOAPscope continues to add new features at a rapic clip, and if you're working with Web services, it remains an essential diagnostic and debugging tool.

The basic idea is simple: SOAPscope lurks on your network, intercepting SOAP messages and filing them away in its own database (there are a variety of ways to configure the sniffer portion, so you can get it to work pretty much no matter what your network configuration looks like). Once they're collected, you can view the requests and reponses in a variety of formats, from raw SOAP to color-coded XML to simplified pseudocode view. You can also inspect the associated HTTP headers, see statistics on the Web service's performance, and analyze the SOAP for potential problems.

WSDL analysis is part of the product as well. Pick a WSDL endpoint and you can dig into it, compare the current WSDL with past versions from the same endpoint, or look for problems. You can also see how many of the methods in the WSDL you've exercised with SOAP calls, and view statistics grouped by the WSDL file.

Version 3.0 adds a lot of new yummy goodness to this basic picture. For starters, they've now integrated the WS-I Basic Testing tools, so you can get a full interoperability report without ever leaving SOAPscope (and without messing around with the tools, beyond downloading them to your computer; one less thing to learn!). Visual Studio .NET users will appreciate the new VS .NET integration. Without leaving the Microsoft IDE, you can now add a web reference to any service you've looked at with SOAPscope, analyze messages, or exercise the Web service you're currently writing without having to put together any client code at all.

Other new features include a task tray icon to manage the SOAPscope server and viewer, support for SSL and gzipped messages, and the ability to compact the SOAPscope database for better performance after you've deleted old messags that you don't need any more. The bottom line remains the same as it was when 2.0 was released: if you're serious about developing or consuming Web services, this product is likely to help you avoid tearing your hair out, at a very reasonable price.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy has been developing software for a quarter-century now, and writing about it for nearly as long. He walked away from a .NET development career in 2006 and has been a happy Rails user ever since. Mike blogs at A Fresh Cup.


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