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Web Services Explained, Solutions and Applications for the Real World

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Web Services Explained, Solutions and Applications for the Real World

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  • Copyright 2003
  • Edition: 1st
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  • ISBN-10: 0-13-047963-2
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-047963-1

Web services for decision makers: strategic insights and actionable recommendations.

  • How Web services will transform the way software is built, sold, implemented, and managed
  • All you need to know to plan an intelligent Web services strategy
  • Risks and pitfalls in current WebsServices architectures
  • Detailed guidance for choosing the right vendor
  • Up-to-the-minute comparisons of Microsoft's .NET and Sun's J2EE platforms
  • Realistic assessments of Web services' impact on ISVs, OEMs, and service providers

Web services will transform the way software is created, sold, and delivered. In this executive briefing, leading analyst and consultant Joe Clabby tells IT and business decision makers what the Web services revolution really means. Web Services Explained clearly explains the fundamentals of Web services technology, offers examples of how it can be used for competitive advantage, and shows how it will impact every player in the IT value chain. It delivers the strategic insights and specific recommendations you'd expect to find only in a $1,000 analyst report, answering the critical questions managers must ask:

  • What exactly are Web services?
  • How do Web services technologies actually work?
  • What are the shortcomings and "gotchas" of current Web services architectures, and what can I do about them?
  • What can Web services help me do that I can't do already?
  • Who's already using Web services, and what results are they achieving?
  • What are the most appropriate Web services applications for my company?
  • What questions should I ask Web services vendors, and how should I choose among them?
  • Should I commit to Microsoft's .NET platform, Sun's J2EE platform, or neither?
  • How will Web services impact my organization?
  • How will Web services impact my suppliers and my broader business environment?

If you need to make key decisions about Web services, you need the strategic intelligence that can be found in only one book: Web Services Explained.

Sample Content

Online Sample Chapters

How Do Specific Web Services Technologies Work?

What Are "Web Services?"

Table of Contents

(NOTE:Each chapter begins with In This Chapter, Key Insights, and conclude with Chapter Summary.)


Executive Summary. What Is This Change? What Do Web Services Enable Your Organization to Do? What Are Web Services? But There's More to Web Services Than Just UDDI, WSDL, and SOAP. What's So Special about Web Services? I've Heard This All Before—Are Web Services for Real? How Web Services Differ from Previous Architectures. Issues, Shortcomings, Gotchas… Alternatives. When Will My Organization Need to Be Ready to Deploy Web Services? Vendor Selection Criteria. Three Approaches.


1. What Are “Web Services”?

In This Chapter. Key Insights. Another Way of Defining What Web Services Do: Consider Publish, Find, and Bind. The Author's Personal Definition of Web Services. A Basic Web Services Architecture. A Complete Web Services Architecture.

2. What Are Program-to-Program Communications?

In This Chapter. Key Insights. What Are Program-to-Program Communications? Previous Program-to-Program Communications Architectures Have Met with Limited Success. Examples: Previous Approaches. Why Program-to-Program Communications Using Web Services Will Become the Industry Standard.

3. How Do Specific Web Services Technologies Work?

In This Chapter. Key Insights. Specific Web Services Technologies. XML: A Lot More Than Just Content/Format. XML: Even More Technical Detail. The Roles of UDDI, WSDL, and SOAP. Building a Web Services Architecture Using Some or None of the Formal Standards. An Example: Using an Alternative Approach to UDDI for Finding Cooperative Applications. How This Application Would Work as a Truly Automated Web Service.

4. Gotchas.

In This Chapter. Key Insights. Weak Points in Web Services Architecture. Having Stated This…


5. What Do Web Services Enable My Organization to Do?

In This Chapter. Key Insights. Web Services in Action: Generic Examples. How Web Services Can Help a Business Open New Markets. Not So Fast… How Web Services Can Be Used to Dynamically Increase a Company's Application Portfolio. Not So Fast… How Web Services Can Be Used to Reduce Development Time and Costs. Not So Fast… How Web Services Can Help Create New Organizational Efficiencies. How Web Services Can Help an Enterprise Create/Overcome Competitive Pressure. Not So Fast… How Web Services Can Help Create a New Revenue Stream from Existing Intellectual Property. Not So Fast… How Web Services Can Help ISVs Repackage Their Software Offerings to Better Reach/Serve Existing Markets. Repacking Affects Physical Product Packaging, Marketing/Promotion, Business Partnership Strategies, and Sales-Channel Approaches. Not So Fast… How Web Services Can Help Solve Legacy Systems Incompatibility Problems. Not So Fast… Another Example of How Web Services Can Help Resolve Interoperability Issues. How Web Services Improve Individual Productivity. Not So Fast…

6. Who Is Using Web Services?

In This Chapter. Key Insights. How Web Services Can Help a Business Open New Markets. Not So Fast… How Web Services Can Be Used to Reduce Development Time and Costs. Not So Fast… Another Use of Web Services to Reduce Development Time and Costs. How Web Services Can Be Used to Help Create New Organizational Efficiencies. Storebrand's Web Services Plans Beyond Creating Organizational Efficiency. Not So Fast… How Web Services Can Help Create a New Revenue Stream from Existing Intellectual Property. Not So Fast… How Web Services Can Help ISVs Repackage Their Software Offerings to Better Reach/Serve Existing Markets. How Web Services Can Help Solve Legacy Systems Incompatibility Problems. Not So Fast… How Web Services Improve Individual Productivity. Not So Fast…

7. When Should My Organization Adopt Web Services?

In This Chapter. Key Insights. The Types of Questions You Need to Ask Yourself. Where Is Most of the Activity Taking Place Today? Pay Close Attention to UDDI.


8. What Vendor Selection Criteria Should Be Used?

In This Chapter. Key Insights. How Do You Build/Acquire Web Services Applications? Three Approaches. A Closer Look at the Application Server Marketplace. First-Pass Look at the Market Positioning of Some of the Application Server Competitors.

9. Should We Adopt .NET or J2EE?

In This Chapter. Key Insight. Market Dynamics. Two Camps: Microsoft .NET and Java. The J2EE versus .NET Rivalry. Opinion. Differences Between J2EE and .NET. Microsoft's Response.

10. Vendor Comparison—Contrasting Various Product and Service Offerings.

In This Chapter. Key Insights. Category 1: Application Server Providers. Example 1: Turnkey Platform Providers. Vendor Profile: IBM. Vendor Profile: Sun. Example 2: Application Server Software Providers. Microsoft. IONA Technologies PLC. webMethods Incorporated. Category 2: Building Your Own la Carte, Point Product Web Services Applications. Example 1: Point Product Tools and Utilities. Forum Systems. Example 2: Using Open Source to Build Web Services Applications. Category 3: Web Services Professional Service Providers. GE Global Exchange Services.

11. A Review of Where This Book Has Taken Us.

A Review of Each Major Part of the Book.


Definition. Program-to-Program Communications. How Web Services Work. Limitations, Shortcomings, and Gotchas. What Does Web Services Enable My Organization to Do? Who Is Using Web Services: Real-World Examples. When?


Vendor Selection Criteria: Three Approaches. J2EE versus .NET Market Dynamics. Web Services Supplier Profiles. Summary Observations and Conclusions. Best Advice. Parting Comments.



If you are a nontechnical business executive and you rely on computer-based information systems for doing your job, you must learn about Web services. Web services are a newly evolving set of distributed application development standards that enable applications to easily cooperate and share information and data with other applications. These evolving standards are expected to radically alter the ways in which applications are built and deployed, information is presented and shared, and software is bought and sold.

Enterprises that adopt Web services will be able to react more quickly and nimbly to changing market conditions. They will be able to take advantage of new efficiencies in business process flow that will serve to lower their sales, general, and administrative costs. They will be able to broaden the application services that they offer to their customers and business partners. And they will be able to use Web services to help them penetrate new markets.

Web services will fundamentally change the business models that underlie many successful businesses today. Failure to prepare for this change will leave many organizations at a competitive disadvantage in the long term. To ensure your organization's longevity, you need to learn what Web services are, what they can do for your organization, how they work, how they can be used, and how your organization can go about building a Web services information infrastructure.


This book is structured to provide 10 answers that business executives are likely to seek as they investigate Web services. Each chapter considers a basic question, such as "What are Web services?" Key topics to be discussed—highlights—are listed at the beginning of each chapter. The chapter then provides information and analysis on these topics, concluding with a summary of what the reader should have learned.

The 10 questions this book closely considers are:

  1. What are Web services?
  2. What are program-to-program communications?
  3. How do specific Web services technologies actually work?
  4. Where are the limitations, shortcomings, and "gotchas" of this architecture?
  5. What can these technologies enable my organization to do?
  6. Who is using Web services now (and in what ways)?
  7. When should my organization adopt Web services?
  8. What vendor selection criteria should be used?
  9. Which approach should my organization use—.NET or J2EE?
  10. How should my organization compare, contrast, and differentiate the product and service offerings of various Web services vendors?

An appendix section presents profiles of various randomly chosen vendors. These provide an overview of offerings by prospective vendor partners that provide Web services solutions.


Dozens upon dozens of new books are available on the topic of "Web services." Here are some reasons for choosing to read this one:

  • Nontechnical approach: This book is thoroughly nontechnical. It provides the necessary basic familiarization with certain technical concepts such as program-to-program communications, registries (directories), and "protocols," but its main focus is on the strategic business benefits that can be derived from Web services.
  • Learning by example: This book uses theoretical as well as real-world scenarios to illustrate what is strategically possible as well as what is being accomplished using Web services. It shows how Web services can be and are being used to create competitive advantage, to modify product packaging, to reduce development costs, and the like. The theoretical examples show business executives how they can potentially exploit Web services; the real-world examples show them what is being done using Web services today.
  • Determining vendor selection criteria: This book also helps business executives determine the right selection/buying criteria for their respective organizations to use in accessing Web services products and services. It describes three approaches that can be used to create or obtain Web services applications, and it gives examples of vendor offerings using each approach. This analysis should help business executives more quickly determine the approach they will use and the vendor(s) they may choose in order to rapidly implement Web services application solutions within their enterprises.

These foci make this book:

  • a primer on Web services;
  • an idea/strategic planning guide; and
  • a buyer's guide.

If you are seeking to find out what Web services are, how to use them, and which type of vendor to partner with or to buy Web services products from, then this book is for you!

Getting the Most Out of This Book

This is not one of those entertaining quick-read business books. It provides a tremendous amount of research material as well as analysis, saving you hundreds of hours of doing your own fundamental Web services research and analysis. It crosses several disciplines (technology, business strategy, vendor criteria and selection, and more)—it's a challenging read.

To meet this challenge you'll need to "get psyched" about Web services! You'll need to remind yourself, "I have to know this material to ensure the long-range success of my company." You'll need to look for the gleam of excitement in "application development environments" and "program-to-program" communications.

Further, for maximum learning benefit, do not try to read this book "all in one sitting." Treat each chapter as a mini-white paper. Read it, then put the book down and walk away from it. Come back when you've had a chance to consider what you've learned. This approach will help you maximize your learning experience while keeping your interest high.

Also, take the opportunity to access the Internet source sites referred to in each chapter. More in-depth information on each topic can be gleaned by visiting these sources.

The Importance of Perseverance

If the preceding section has piqued your interest in Web services-read on. But be forewarned: Web services are a new, Web standards-based way to develop distributed, shared applications across disparate computer systems environments over the Internet. Accordingly, Web services discussions are really about "application development environments"—a challenging topic that calls upon your perseverance in assimilating it.

For those who persevere and learn the basics of the "Web services" approach/business model, the potential rewards of using it are substantial. You can expect a direct and positive effect in terms of lowering business/transaction costs and application development costs, improving your company's time-to-market in delivering software solutions to your customers and business partners, sharpening your response to competitive pressure, and improving overall business efficiency. Understanding the Web services model can also help your business to take competitive advantage as well as open new sources of revenue by remarketing existing applications.

Understanding the answers to the 10 questions considered in this book will enable business executives to (a) define Web services, (b) extrapolate where Web services fit within their respective organizations, (c) determine how and when to exploit Web services for their organization's strategic and competitive advantage, and (d) understand the criteria for selecting which vendors' products and services should be used to move their enterprises into the Web services world.

So, in other words, please stick with it—the time you invest will be rewarded, you will save hundreds of hours of research and analysis, and you will pick up very valuable strategic and competitive information while learning about the evolving world of Web services.


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