WEB SERVICES: DEFINITION AND ITS NEED IN MODERN BUSINESS OPERATIONS

WEB SERVICES: DEFINITION AND ITS NEED IN MODERN BUSINESS OPERATIONS

Introduction

A web service is a standardized communication medium between a server and the client on the internet. Being a software module, it performs specific kinds of tasks. In cloud computing, web services are used to provide various functionalities when invoked by a client.

In this article, we introduce the basic concepts surrounding web services:

  • Their working
  • the need 
  • types
  • advantages
  • architecture 
  • characteristics

How Web Services Work

how-web-service-work

The figure above shows a typical web service at work. The client computer invokes various calls as requests to the server that hosts the web service.

The process of making requests is called remote procedure calls (RPC). RPC targets the host of a web service and calls specific methods.

An example of a web service is amazon.com, an online store for selling products[1]. The client can be accessing the web service using a .Net or Java user interface, and both of the interfaces can communicate with the web service.

Transfer of data between client and server applications happening in the form of XML (Extensible markup language) documents is the major design concept of web services.

XML is easy to understand just as HTML and many programming languages understand it. It provides a platform of communication for applications developed using different programming languages[2].

To exchange the XML data between systems or applications, the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) is used. According to Gudgin,  the XML document being transferred from a web service to the client is the SOAP message[3].

This makes it possible for clients written in different languages to exchange data with the web service because a soap message is written in XML.

The Need for Web Services

The evolution of the internet has seen the integration of modern web-based applications into business operations. The applications are written in a variety of programming languages e.g. Java, .Net, Angular JS, Node.js, etc.

This becomes a nightmare for different applications to communicate accurate information. This gave the rise to web services that enable communication between applications built in different programming languages.

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