As you may know Axis is an Apache open source project commonly used, but it is not the official standard for Web Service Development in Java, this standard is named Java API for XML-Based RPC (JAX-RPC)
. The Java Web Services Developer Pack contains an implementation of JAX-RPC.
One important thing to notice, not necessary directly interested for you if you will use Tomcat, it is the fact that J2EE 1.4, mandates the support of JAX-RPC.
I won't go in the detail of talking about using or not SOAP Web Services vs simple XML (POXML ;-Plain Old XML); but I think that when you choose a Web service stack you have to put that in perspective of the requirements of your application. For example, do you need interoperability? Meaning who will consume your web service? only you or a .Net, or other Java stack, ... Do you need security (authentication or encryption, ..) etc etc...
One of the goals of JAX-RPC and the different stack that implements it (J2EE 1.4 containers) is to be interoperable, secure and follow other WS standards...
Also one thing that is not clear for me is how Axis will evolve, if you see the Axis 2.0 Web site
, it says that:
Axis2 is an effort to re-design and totally re-implement both Axis/Java and (eventually) Axis/C++ on a new architecture.