The Apache eXtensible Interaction System (AXIS) is the latest implementation of SOAP for Java. In effect, it is version 3 of Apache SOAP, the de facto standard SOAP implementation used with Java. With Sun's official support for SOAP still working its way through the java community process, AXIS looks set to become the most important SOAP implementation for java. AXIS is a complete ground up reimplementation; it is designed to be flexible and modular. Unlike previous implementations, which were intended as a proof of concept, it bas been designed with performance in mind. This modular approach should enable AXIS to keep pace with future developments in the SOAP protocol. It also makes for a uniquely extensible message processing system. As AXIS is built on a series of modules (known as Handlers), adding custom functionality to AXIS is as simple as extending the basic handler class and then deploying the new handler to the AXIS engine.
Despite the fact that AXIS is still in beta, the added speed and customizability means that many people are already deploying it in production systems.