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Web Service Stacks

Armed with XML, SOAP, WSDL, and the underlying components of TCP/IP and web service frameworks, a developer can easily create light and simple client and server applications that communicate through a web interface. Like TCP/IP itself, a web service environment consists of a stack of components. Major vendors have their own web service stacks that they provide to customers. The complete system forms a package of server software, developer tools, and even computer hardware that is provided to the client, along with consulting services and, sometimes, made-to-order custom applications.

Linux vendors and developers often talk about the LAMP stack, a collection of open source components that is easily tailored for web service environments. The memorable acronym LAMP spells out the principal components of the stack:

  • Linux—An operating system that supports server applications running on the server system
  • Apache—A web server that serves up XML-based SOAP messages
  • MySQL—A database system that provides access to back-end data services
  • PHP (or Perl or Python)—A web-ready programming language used to code the details of the custom web service application

Proprietary web service infrastructures provide similar features. The Java programming language is often used with web services—not just by Sun (the creators of Java), but also in IBM's WebSphere and other systems. Microsoft provides equivalents to Java through the tools of the .NET framework.

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