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Using tools to browse Web Services. Great for solving problems

Note: This blog post is from 2009. Some content may be outdated--though not necessarily. Same with links and subsequent comments from myself or others. Corrections are welcome, in the comments. And I may revise the content as necessary.
I just blogged about a feature in CFBuilder that allows you to browse web service methods, arguments, etc., like the same feature in Dreamweaver and the Adobe Eclipse Extensions for Eclipse.

But what if you have none of those tools, or just don't care to fire them up?

Many alternative tools for browsing web services

The good news is that there are various free and commercial tools, some you download and some entirely web-based (and again, free) that do basically the same thing (and more), letting you see the methods, args, etc.

I list several of them in a web services tools category at my CF411 site, which now has over 1000 tools and resources of interest to CFers, in more than 125 categories. (As tempting as it is, you may want to wait and finish this entry before you go get lost in the treasure trove of goodies there.)

Useful when you're fighting a web service

These web service browsing tools (and the editor features) can all be great when you've been given a web service and either you don't know what the methods or arguments are, or you're having problems understanding why something's not working. Sure, you can just browse the URL and get back the WSDL XML, but these tools (like the editor features above) do that for you and present the information in a far friendlier interface.

Indeed, some of these other tools (including some free web-based ones) even go a step farther and let you even input values for the arguments and execute the web services without writing any code. That can really help confirm if and how a web service should work, if you're struggling with it in CFML.

A great example: SoapClient

A great example of a free online tool that both browses and executes web services is SoapClient. Couldn't be more straightforward, and no registration required. Check it out.

More CF-based web services tips

Finally, I'll note as well that as you work with web services in CFML I also have several other blog entries from the past with some things that may surprise you, all accessible in my web services category.

For more content like this: Need more help with problems?
  • If you may prefer direct help, rather than digging around here/elsewhere or via comments, I can help via my consulting services
  • See that for more on how I can help a) over the web, safely and securely, b) usually very quickly, c) teaching you as we go, and d) with satisfaction guaranteed
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