Over a year and half ago, I started working with Matt Powell and the MSDN folks to update up a lot of the content on the Web services spoke.  During this process, we found that the SOAP Toolkit was actually getting a lot of downloads without folks really understanding that it was not the recommended approach for building Web service solutions on the Microsoft platform.

The SOAP Toolkit was deprecated by the .NET Framework.  The toolkit was originally released to demonstrate basic Web services capabilities with COM components and applications.

As a result, we chartered a series of articles to help customers understand the best practices for Web services development using the .NET Framework COM interop support and to help folks migrate off the SOAP toolkit.

The support for the toolkit was originally slated to retire on July 1, 2004 (yes, next month); however, we had a lot of customer feedback that they had actually built production apps using the toolkit.  Pat Beahan championed a process by which we identified who our customers were and spent time understanding their project timelines.  As a result, we have extended the support lifecycle to more closely align with Visual Studio 6.0.

Standard support for the toolkit will now expire 4/2005 with extended support ending 4/2008.  The Microsoft Website will be updated shortly to reflect these dates.  For the latest on supported technologies for developing Web services, visit the Web Services Developer Center on MSDN.  To understand the benefits of building Web services solutions on the .NET Framework and to leverage the latest advanced Web services capabilities, vist the Web services spoke on MSDN http://msdn.microsoft.com/webservices.