Programmatic Access to Repository (SOAP/FtRPC)

This is meant to be a follow-up to my last entry to cover the programmatic remote procotols supported by the 4Suite repository.


The 4Suite repository supports an internal RPC protocol with a Python implementation that provides programmatic access to the repository. The automated 4Suite build process has recently changed significantly so you can browse the Python API documentation (courtesy of John L Clark's build). Each repository could serve it's own instance (the default port is 8803)


The 4Suite repository supports a SOAP mapping that essentially attempts to serve as a translation mechanism between SOAP and the internal repository API. A repository instance can manage a SOAP server instance (the default port is 8090).

SOAP Service Namespace

The namespace URI associated with the SOAP service is:


Each SOAP message can have authentication information in the SOAP Header. The format is:

    <ftsoap:authenticatingUser>.. user .. </>

where SOAP is bound to:

Session authentication is supported with the first two header entries. The other two are for simple / basic authentication (very similar to HTTP scenario).

Message-to-Repo API Mapping

SOAP messages are invoked against repository resources. The local name of the SOAP-ENV:Body child element (in the ftsoap namespace) is mapped to the name of the method to invoke. The child elements are mapped to parameters to the methods. There are certain special parameters:

  • scrpath (the repository path of the resource to execute the method against)
  • base64 (a boolean value indicating whether or not the content is Base 64 encoded – fault by default)
  • src (the content – transmitted as pure text or Base 64 encoded)
  • updateSrc (used by the xUpdate method as the XUpdate document – transmitted as pure text or Base 64 encoded)

The method is invoked with one of the following as the response:

  • ftsoap:successReponse (if there is nothing returned)
  • ftsoap:valueResponse (the value returned – it's string representation)
  • ftsoap:Resource (if a resource itself is returned)
  • SOAP-ENV:Fault (includes Base 64 encoded traceback string)

ftsoap:Resource diagram

[Uche Ogbuji]

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