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What are XML Web Services?

A look at XML Web Services and what they are used for

Written By on in C#

291 words, estimated reading time 2 minutes.

XML Web Services provide a means of communication between distributed systems and enables true platform independence. Web services typically use a form of XML and SOAP to exchange data between the client and the server.

Introduction to Web Services Series
  1. What are XML Web Services?
  2. Creating a Simple XML Web Service
  3. Connecting C# Windows Applications to a Web Service

XML Web services allow data to be presented wrapped in an XML envelope for transport over networks, either LAN or WAN but mainly over the Internet. Web services expose business logic functions to web enabled clients through the use of a protocol. The two main protocols in use are Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) and JavaScript Object Notation (JSON).

Web services provide information about themselves so that clients can write applications that talk to the service and use the data. This information is provided using a Web Services Description Language (WSDL) document.

The main advantage of Web Services is that allows programs written in different languages to communicate data with each other in standards compliant way over the internet and interact directly with your database via managed code.

XML Web Services
XML Web Services

XML Web Services are best described as self-contained, modular applications that can be invoked across the Internet. They can handle something as simple as retrieving a data/time string or stock quote to a complex task such as online ordering and B2B communications with Punchout and cXML.

XML Web Services can only access your business logic and database through the managed code within the service. This structure protects your data integrity and preserves existing business logic.

Applications can make use of multiple web services as a data source; each web service can be from a different supplier.

XML Web Services
XML Web Services

It is important to note that an XML Web Service written in .Net can be consumed by a web application written in PHP and vice-versa. In fact, an XML Web Service can be written using almost any programming language and consumed by any other. The only requirement is that they can serialise and deserialize data in an agreed format.

Last updated on: Friday 23rd June 2017

 

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