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Web service

A web service (or Web Service) is a string-based service provided over the Internet, usually in a data language, meant as communication between computer software. The World Wide Web Consortium have several working groups appointed to the subject. EDI was a precursor to web services, and is relatively difficult and expensive to implement, but reputedly reliable.

Table of contents
1 Characteristics
2 Advantages of Web Services
3 Platforms
4 See also
5 External links


Protocols defined within the XML framework include the XML-RPC protocol for simple web services, and the SOAP and WSDL protocols for both simple and more complex web services. UDDI is for directories of services and RSS (Rich Site Summary) is an example of a very simple Web service. The composition of Web Services can be described by WSFL or the new BPEL4WS.

The use of SOAP implies that the peers in a Web Service application will be using object-oriented programming or component-oriented programming paradigms.

Advantages of Web Services

The main reason as to why Web Services are used seem to be that they rely on HTTP over TCP port 80. To understand this, keep in mind that many enterprises have protected themselves (see computer security) using firewalls, that filter and block much Internet traffic for security reasons. In this milieu, typically many ports, almost all, are closed to incoming and outgoing traffic, and the administrators of these firewalls are not eager to open them up to any traffic. However port 80 is always open, as it is used for web browsers, and thus, Web Services are appealing as they tunnel everything through port 80.

Another reason may be that prior to SOAP there were not really good interfaces to accessing functionality on different computers on a network, most of them were ad hoc and few people knew or could handle EDI, RPC and similar APIs. Web Services may have more solid frameworks and are thus easier to use.

A third reason that web services are useful is that they can provide very loose coupling between an application that uses the Web Service and the Web Service itself. This should allow either piece to change without negatively affecting the other. This flexibility may become increasingly important as software is built by assembling individual components into a complete application.


Web services usually run on dedicated computers called application servers. There are a few brands of these:

See also

External links

Standards and proposals