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Why Use Web Services?

Web services make it relatively easy to reuse and share common logic with such diverse clients as mobile, desktop, and web applications. The broad reach of web services is possible because they rely on open standards that are ubiquitous, interoperable across different computing platforms, and independent of the underlying execution technologies. All web services, at the very least, use HTTP and leverage data-interchange standards like XML and JSON, and common media types. Beyond that, web services use HTTP in two distinct ways. Some use it as an application protocol to define standard service behaviors. Others simply use HTTP as a transport mechanism to convey data. Regardless, web services facilitate rapid application integration because, when compared to their predecessors, they tend to be much easier to learn and implement. Due to their inherent interoperability and simplicity, web services facilitate the creation of complex business processes through service composition. This is a practice in which compound services can be created by assembling simpler services into workflows.

Web services establish a layer of indirection that naturally insulates clients from the means used to fulfill their requests (see Figure 1.3). This makes it possible for clients and services to evolve somewhat independently as long as breaking changes do not occur on the service's public interface (for more on breaking changes, refer to the section What Causes Breaking Changes? in Chapter 7). A service owner may, for example, redesign a service to use an open source library rather than a custom library, all without having to alter the client.

Figure 1.3

Figure 1.3 Web services help to insulate clients from the logic used to fulfill their requests. They establish a natural layer of indirection that makes it possible for clients and domain entities (i.e., workflow logic, Table Modules, Domain Models [POEAA], etc.) to evolve independently.

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