If there is one term in this book that you will hear more than any other in the halls of information technology, it is the term Web services. Computer magazines, Web sites, and other sources have many reasons to tout the benefits of this XML-based technology. It is simply a powerful and extensible way of moving datasets from one point to another in this cyber world we live in today.
Over the last few years, Web services have grown from being a concept the industry has simply kept its eye on, to a reality that is now planned for in quite a number of recurring IT projects. Web services are filling a need that has existed in the IT industry for some time now, and the major vendors of the world are literally rushing in with solutions that their customers can use to address this need.
This chapter looks at the Web services world (at least to the extent possible in the limited space this chapter offers), including how some of the major vendors of the world make it rather simple for you to build and consume Web services using their tools and technologies. After this chapter, the next few chapters include more discussion on SOAP, WSDL, and the WS-* specifications.
One of the first steps in understanding Web services and why so much hype surrounds them is to first understand the problems that they are meant to address. Ever since the industry has moved away from monolithic mainframe computers to the client/server model, users have been wondering how ...