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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Understanding the Scope of Web Services

So now that we have the basic definition down, let's go back to the big picture. How do you build Web services? What do you need to run Web services? How do you use Web services? Obviously this topic covers a lot of territory. Figure 2-3 divides the scope of our discussion into four basic concepts: XML and Web services technologies, Web services infrastructure, Web services, and Web services application templates. Each layer builds on the layers below it.

02fig03.jpgFigure 2-3. Web services concepts can be divided into four logical layers: XML and Web services technologies, Web services infrastructure, Web services, and Web services application templates.


XML and Web services technologies provide the foundation for Web services

XML and Web services technologies provide the foundation for Web services

The bottom layer in Figure 2-3 comprises XML and Web services technologies. These technologies provide the foundation for Web services. Don't worry about all the acronyms used in this illustration. We'll take a closer look at these technologies in Chapters 3–5. (If you can't wait, you can find definitions for the acronyms in the Glossary.)

The next layer in Figure 2-3 represents Web services infrastructure: products that implement the XML and Web services technologies. You use these products to build, deploy, manage, and use Web services. Chapters 8 and 9 will take a closer look at Web services infrastructure.

A Web service represents an information resource or business process that you have made available to other applications through a Web API. In particular, it is a resource that supports application-to-application communication using Web services infrastructure. You can turn any piece of application code into a Web service. A Web service can do whatever you've programmed it to do. Figure 2-3 lists five sample Web services: sales quote, order tracking, weather reports, stock trading, and map and directions.

Web services application templates represent the kinds of applications and initiatives for which Web services technology offers substantial benefits. The list of templates in Figure 2-3 is by no means exhaustive, but it identifies some of the more popular uses of Web services, such as portals, enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, enterprise application integration initiatives, and business-to-business integration. We'll discuss a number of real-life Web services applications in this chapter and in Chapter 7.

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