Lather, Rinse, Repeat

Jeremy Hilts, Web Developer

So, it appears that spring has almost arrived in the District. As I write, I periodically look out my window to see a fair amount of mist hanging in the air after last weekend’s rain. I’m hoping that it’s finally time to toss away the scarf and hat for a while.

When one thinks of spring, their thoughts turn, immediately, toward none other but….. SOAP. Yes, you read it: SOAP. And, oh, the fun you can have with SOAP – especially if you’re a weather geek like myself.

OK, so I’m not talking about the squeaky-clean kind of soap, I’m talking about Simple Object Access Protocol: a web service that allows you to submit a request for data and returns (hopefully) the data requested in a structured format. Ask in XML, and ye shall receive in XML.

While the performance-junkie inside of me disdains the idea of using XML for network communications due to its general “cruftiness,” it does have it’s benefits: it’s simple, well-structured, and many people know it. Even if you’ve never seen XML before, you can get a pretty good idea from looking at a well-formed XML document.

But I digress. I was looking into options for cellular phone weather implementations and found that, though some of them are good, the good ones either charge a quarterly subscription and/or are only available on specific platforms. Almost all of these services use SOAP to convey weather information and make implementing ones own, if one were so inclined, quite simple. I even found one service that will give you a daily snapshot of the requested area, taken from a stationary camera.

There you have it. Weather and SOAP: a match made in heaven. May all your web communications be squeaky-clean.

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