Web services and Service Oriented Architecture are emerging technologies that bring together Object Oriented software design principles, Electronic Data Interchange and Internet technologies to enable business to automate the integration of their systems both internally and with external partners.
A Web Service is an application layer that exposes the data and functionality of a business application to another application using Internet technologies.
The Web Services technology stack includes:
- HTTP: basic Web protocol
- SSL / HTTPS: encrypted Web protocol
- XML: self describing data structure
- XML Schema: W3C standard data types and language to define additional data types
- SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol): XML based inter-application communication protocol
- WSDL (Web Service Definition Language): XML based description of a Web Service
- UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery and Integration): Registry service for Web Services
- WS-Security / SAML: standards for passing security credentials using SOAP.
These technologies and standards are supported by all major vendors including IBM, Microsoft and Oracle and are vendor and platform independent. The principle controlling bodies are the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), Organisation for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) and Web Service Interoperability (WS-I).
Web Services deliver benefits to business in several ways:
- Enterprise application integration: enabling the seamless integration of an organisations internal applications across heterogeneous platforms
- Automation of Business to Business (B2B) processes between businesses eg. Sales order processing
- Commercial Web Services: provision of content, product or services over the Web for purchase of re-sale e.g. flight information to travel agent.
A number of mixed development approaches are being evolved to exploit web services commonly referred to as Rich Internet Applications (RIA).
For further details on OCS' Web Services please contact us on 020 8236 7777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org