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Web Services

Overview

Web services are generating much attention. Articles, books, and websites are extolling their benefits. Technology leaders claim web services are the next revolution (following the web and HTTP).

What are web services? Good question...and one that will generate many different responses. The resource section below offers a variety of definitions. One important concept is the capacity for applications to talk to each other - picture HTTP/ HTML as advancing the capacity of people to interact with data as a crude model...XML is concerned with allowing applications to talk to applications as easily as users talk to applications.

Bill Gates' definition of what web service actually do (or are supposed to do) may be helpful: "Many of us envision an online world where constellations of PCs, servers, smart devices, and Internet-based services can collaborate seamlessly. Businesses will be able to share data, integrate their processes, and join forces to offer customized , comprehensive solutions to their customers. The information you or your business need will be available wherever you are, and whatever computing device, platform, or application you are using."

Why are web services listed on an elearning resource site? I've followed discussions on the role of web services from business perspectives (with much confusion), and I'm convinced that web services will play a significant role for anyone doing business or delivering education on the Internet. As such, it may be helpful for educators to have a functional understanding of these developments.

The potential of anywhere, anytime, any platform, any application computing is massive. As web services evolve and develop (particularly XML), gaining increased acceptance and use, their impact will be felt in education.


Resources

XML, Webservices, and the Changing Face of Distributed Computing
"A new kind of network offers a world of possibilities for moving data and building application architectures centered around common Internet protocols."
An excellent overview of web services...great illustrations to explain concepts.

What's a Web service?
"Broadly defined, a Web service is a method of making various applications communicate with each other automatically over the Internet. The goal is to streamline business processes by allowing software applications to be delivered over the Internet and run across all kinds of computers, from large servers to handheld devices."

Creating and Consuming Web Services
"While Web Services are not intended nor do they have the power to solve every distributed application problem, they are an easy way to create and consume services over the Internet. One of the design goals for Web Services is to allow companies and developers to share services with other companies in a simple way over the Internet."

Top 10 FAQ's for Web Services
Excellent

Web Services - Part 1
Web Services - Part 2
Web Services - Part 3
Lots of information...some of it technical.

Start Writing Web Services Today
Quite technical.

How to Create and Deploy XML Web Services
Microsoft site...using .NET and Office XP.

Arbortext
"Are you working too hard to publish your information in multiple forms -- Web, print and others -- while keeping it fresh, consistent and complete? Arbortext helps you solve that problem by creating a single XML-based source of information and automating the publishing to all types of media."

XML Spy
"XML Spy now offers a comprehensive and easy-to-use product family to facilitate all aspects of Advanced XML Application Development."

SoftQuad
"We enable organizations to easily create and work with the XML content that is transforming the Web and e-business applications."

   

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