The Web service reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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Web service

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A web service is a collection of protocols and standards used for exchanging data between applications. Software applications written in various programming languages and running on various platforms can use web services to exchange data over computer networks like the Internet. This interoperability is due to the use of open standards. OASIS and the W3C are the steering committees responsible for the architecture and standardization of web services. To improve interoperability between web service implementations, the WS-I organisation has been developing a series of profiles to further define the standards involved.

Table of contents
1 Standards used
2 Advantages of web services
3 Disadvantages of web services
4 Reasons for creating web services
5 Platforms
6 See also
7 External links

Standards used

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Advantages of web services

Disadvantages of web services

Reasons for creating web services

The main reason why web services are used seems 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) by using firewalls that filter and block much Internet traffic for security reasons. In this milieu, typically many (almost all) ports are closed to incoming and outgoing traffic, and the administrators of these firewalls are not eager to open them up. Port 80, however, is always open because it is used for web browsers. Web services tunnel everything through port 80, making the technology very appealing.

Another reason may be that prior to SOAP, there were no 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 APIss. Web services may have more solid frameworks and would thus be easier to use.

A third reason that web services are useful: 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.

Platforms

Web services can be deployed by using application server software. A sample of application servers:

See also

External links