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Soaplab is a Web Services software framework specialised for bioinformatics programs with command-line interface. It includes a module for running command-line programs and provides support to generate Java Web Services web applications for them. It allows both synchronous and asynchronous execution of programs. Soaplab generic interface makes it possible to use one single interface when accessing any Soaplab Web Services regardless of the command line interface of underlying programs.
Soaplab is well known to many bioinformaticians since it has built-in support for EMBOSS programs and also because the European Bioinformatics Institute where Soaplab was developed has had an active Soaplab server since year 2003. The EBI Soaplab Web Services, includes most EMBOSS applications that are suitable for launching through Web Services. It can be said that initial development of Soaplab was supported by the UK e-Science program, and it was part of the myGrid project.
Its latest version, Soaplab2, first released in late 2007, resolved the known maintainability problems and included several enhancements. For example, the legacy Applab layer, which required an additional CORBA server running in parallel to Soaplab servers, was removed and its functionality re-implemented as part of Soaplab2. It allowed deployment of Web Services in two configurations:
- Document/literal-wrapped Web Services interface, based on JAX-WS Web Services stack
- RPC/encoded Web Services interface, based on Axis-1 Web Services stack (for backward compatibility of the existing clients)
Soaplab2 supports defining and running test suites and includes a predefined test suite for testing EMBOSS Web Services. One important new feature in Soaplab2 was its new web-page front-end Spinet which allows running of underlying programs through usual HTML forms.
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