17.4. Calling Web Services

Web services, or also called XML web services, have been a hot topic for several years now. They are in essence a remoting mechanism, a system designed to enable machine-to-machine communication. Based on an XML format for exchanging messages, the service invocation effectively represents a method call. The remote object and its target method are fully qualified with a URL and parameters, and results are transported using XML messages, typically over HTTP.

So, why are web services important to us? Similar to RSS feeds, they are a widely used method of exchanging data between systems. Many applications and services expose information using web services, and we can use web services to get data from remote servers, send ...

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