What Is a Web Service? In the computer world, the term “Web Service” refers to any software or hardware that enables interactive communication over the Internet. The Internet itself, as well as many intranet systems, are the typical web service. The Internet and the World Wide Web are where much of the interaction occurs, although this is not always the case.
In order to understand what web services are and how they work, it helps to have a basic understanding of how the Internet works, and what is a browser, and how web services enable clients to do certain things on the Internet. First of all, a browser is basically a program that displays web pages on a computer screen. This display technology is very similar in concept to how a word processor displays an HTML (hyper text markup language) document. There are various components in the browser, including graphics, text and other interactivity elements.
The web services use a standardized set of protocols and formats. These protocols and formats allow for efficient data exchange over long distances and restrict the possibility of errors due to mis-communication or operator error. Most providers define the format of the data transfer in an XML or SOAP. Other data transfer formats may be supported as well. Some providers define their own SOAP and XML-like specifications, while others use the standards and guidelines of the Apache, PHP, Sun or other standard libraries.
The client application layer provides data and access control services to the web services. It can control access by the user or by a role assigned by the provider. This layer may be written in any suitable scripting language and is usually server-side. The data is stored in a database server and accessed by a browser using the necessary connection mechanism. It is typically separated into two types of systems:
This is the collection of data that is managed and manipulated on a per request basis. The data model contains all the details of the data being requested. The application programming interface (API) creates a series of standard methods that are used to carry out requests. The methods may perform any number of operations such as loading, retrieving, updating and changing the data.
The web services can send data either as raw text as formatted text, as images, as multipart/formatted data, or in some other format according to the chosen format. There is no need to train developers as the job of developing web services is mostly generic in nature and can be customized to fit the needs of each developer. The most common use of web services is in online advertising. Companies use them to send advertisements to their customers.
The technology used in developing web services can vary widely. There are many companies offering readymade solutions that involve minimal programming language. Companies who provide these solutions can also tailor it to suit the particular requirements of a client company. Many software development companies offer web services that require minimal programming and can be customized to meet the specific requirements of the client. These are some of the important aspects of web services that need to be understood before any decision to buy a web service is made.