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Java and SOAP by Robert Englander

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5.3. Passing Custom Types as Parameters

As Java programmers, we certainly don't restrict ourselves to the classes found in the standard Java packages. A substantial part of our code exists as custom types, Java classes of our own creation that embody the functionality and characteristics of the systems we're building.

Consider the design of a Java class that contains all of the data necessary to specify a stock trade. This new class might contain the symbol for the stock being traded, the number of shares to trade, and an indication of the order type (buy or sell). When designing such a class, it's important to view it in the context of the larger system. That kind of analysis yields clues that can lead to decisions regarding the properties and behaviors to be given to the class. We all do this kind of work all the time; it's called software design. The result is a Java class that contains methods for accessing properties and behavior. Since SOAP is a data transport, we're interested in the properties of the class. That's what we want to transmit over the wire.

One common way to express the properties of a Java class is to use the JavaBeans design patterns. These patterns specify a naming convention to be used for the class's access methods. You may not be familiar with JavaBeans, but I bet you've seen this pattern many times. Here's how the property accessor pattern is described in the O'Reilly book Developing Java Beans:

The methods used for getting and setting property ...

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