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A Web service is a set of functionalities that are packaged as a single entity and published to the Web for use by other applications. Web services are building blocks for creating open distributed systems, and allow companies and individuals to quickly and cheaply make their digital assets available worldwide. One early example is Microsoft Passport, a convenient authentication service hosted by Microsoft. Here are some other examples:
  • a credit checking service that returns credit information when given a person's social security number.
  • a stock quote service that returns the stock price associated with a specified ticker symbol.
  • a purchasing service that allows computer systems to buy office supplies when given an item code and a quantity.
A Web service can aggregate other Web services to provide a higher-level set of features. For example, a Web service could provide a set of high-level travel features by orchestrating lower-level Web services for car rental, air travel, and hotels. Applications of the future will be built from Web services that are dynamically selected at runtime based on their cost, quality, and availability.
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Web Services Activity - W3C's overview of news, groups, documents and specifications, events and recommended reading. CypressLogic - Developer of ObjectView, a graphical programming environment for integrating Web services. WebserviceX.NET - Provides programmable business logic components that serve as "black boxes" to provide access to functionality via web services. Sosnoski Software Solutions, Inc. - Resources to support the development of Web services in Java, including published results on performance and usability. Company provides Web services consulting and software development services. webservices.XML.com - Web Services XML.com subsite. Development resources and solutions, features timely news, opinions, and tutorials, interactive forums, and newsletters. SOA Software - Provides web services management solutions, including tools to manage and monitor complex, loosely coupled system architectures. I.T. Works: XML, Web Services and Service-Oriented Architectures - Resources portal offering news, market information, books and reports. IBM developerWorks: Web services - The Web Services special topic area is a resource for developers building Web applications for e-business, e-commerce, and the enterprise. By IBM. Altova MissionKit - Includes multiple Web services tools: graphical WSDL editor and validator, SOAP client and debugger, graphical Web services builder with code generation as well as Web services mapping to/from databases, XML, EDI, and text files. Wingfoot Software - Enables access to Web Services and .NET applications from mobile devices.
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