Chapter 8. XML-RPC and the Web Services Landscape

Although much of the rest of this book has explored the internals of various XML-RPC implementations and approaches, developers using XML-RPC should also look at the bigger picture. XML-RPC is one of several possible protocol choices built on XML.

The Web Services Vision

The World Wide Web is pretty well understood at this point, providing a cheap means of presenting content to human readers and allowing for a certain amount of navigation and interaction. Web infrastructures -- TCP/IP, HTTP, and HTML -- are widely deployed, supported, and understood. Although these infrastructures have some limitations, their widespread use has made them commodities ready for cheap reuse, and the Web Services community plans to take the model for computer-to-computer communications pioneered by XML-RPC and extend it to a wider variety of architectures and projects.

Trumpeted by conference presenters as a solution for distributing logic across networks and hyped as the foundation of new business models for application service providers, Web Services is a pretty simple set of tools at its heart. The foundations are XML and HTTP, and those two ingredients are combined for computer-to-computer communications. As the vision of Web Services has grown beyond the basic integration provided by XML-RPC, the number and kinds of specifications for Web Services have grown, as well. Specifications now include protocols used to pass object information between computers, ...

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