The tools that come with both Apache Axis and Microsoft .NET allow for easy cross-platform integration. The first Web Services release from the Apache group, Apache SOAP, didn’t have the tools necessary to easily create cross-platform Web Services. Because SOAP was out long before .NET, the developers were in the dark on what tools were really necessary to work with future Microsoft releases. Many of the tools provided with Axis such as the wsdl2java tool and the ability for the Web Service to generate its own WSDL allow Java developers to have the same ease of use as the .NET community, along with the ability to call C# Web Services.
When Microsoft first started creating and releasing Web Service tools, several third- party Java vendors rushed to the scene with Java Web Service tools. The only open source competition then was Apache SOAP, which didn’t provide many of the tools needed to easily integrate between Java and .NET.
The release of the “Web Services Toolkit” by IBM was the first real hint of easy cross- platform integration that a developer had free access too because the toolkit was available as a free download. Once IBM transferred some of the code from the toolkit to the Apache Group, the Axis project began to compete with many of the third-party vendors who rushed to develop tools that integrated with .NET. One must wonder what the future of the third-party Java Web Services vendors is?