Not too long ago Web Services was a very hot buzz word. It is STILL important. Web services are protocols that enable web sites to pass data to one another to make it easier for online transactions to occur.
Business Week’s Jim Kerstetter, Technology editor writes Few people seem to actually agree on what a Web service is. So to help demystify this huge but nebulous new movement here are some common questions and answers about Web services
Q: Why the confusion?
A: The term “Web service” is a lot like one of those words in the dictionary with two very distinct definitions. Web services means one thing to the hard-core software programming crowd and something else to business people.
Q: Fair enough. So what’s a Web service in the eyes of a programmer?
A: To computer programmers and other techies, Web services refer to a set of programming standards used to make different types of software talk to each other over the Internet, without human intervention.
Web services share three types of computer programming: Extensible Markup Language (XML), Standard Object Access Protocol (SOAP), and Web Services Definition Language (WSDL). XML is sort of the Esperanto of Web services. Pioneered in the mid-1990s by Tim Bray, who’s now a researcher at Sun Microsystems’ Sun Labs, it was the first step to giving programmers accustomed to, say, using Microsoft’s software development tools an easier way to work with programmers working with development tools sold by Sun.
SOAP is sort of a virtual envelope for computer code that acts like an introductory letter, saying what’s inside and where it should go. And WSDL is the nifty little code that allows different types of software talk to directly each other. That’s the real promised land for Web services — software interacting without humans getting in the way.
XML also has dozens of subsets that address issues specific to different industries such as banking, retailing, and even the computer industry itself. Read his full article here
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