Web services are either: a service offered by an electronic device to another electronic device, communicating with each other via the World Wide Web OR Web service is a server running on a computer device, listening for requests at a particular port over a network, serving web documents (HTML, JSON, XML, Images), and creating web applications services, which serve in solving specific domain problems over the web (www, internet, HTTP)

Business applications use several programming platforms to develop web-based applications. Some applications are developed in Java, others in .Net, while some others in Angular JS, Node.js, etc. The applications are built using different programming languages so it becomes difficult to ensure accurate communication between applications.

So there is a need for web services to provide a common platform that allows multiple applications to communicate with each other built on various programming languages.

What are web services:

The term Web services is a way of integrating Web-based applications over an internet protocol backbone by the use of the XML, SOAP, WSDL and UDDI open standards. XML is used for data tagging, SOAP is used for transferring the data, WSDL is used to describe the available services and UDDI is used for listing the available services. Web services allow businesses to communicate data without intimate knowledge of each other’s IT systems using a firewall.

Web services do not provide GUI instead of that web services share business logic, data, and processes through a programmatic interface across a network. Developers can add the Web service to a GUI to offer specific functionality to users.

Web services allow various applications from various sources to communicate with each other without coding. All communication is done in XML, Web services are not depending upon any operating system or programming language.

Web services is a client-server application or application component for communication and enable communication between two devices over the network. The web is a collection of standards or protocols which is used for exchanging information between two devices or application.

Types of Web Services:

There are two types of web services:

  1. SOAP Web Services
  2. REST Web Services

SOAP Web Services:

SOAP is an XML-based protocol and its biggest advantage is the SOAP Web Service is having its own security. Using the HTTP protocol, Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) provides an envelope to send web services messages over the Internet. The messages which are sent are generally in XML format. SOAP is a technique which is used to send XML request over the Internet by using HTTP protocol and getting an XML response in return.

Every application which is serving SOAP requests has a WSDL file, WSDL (Web Service Description Language) is an XML. Web Service Description Language describes all the methods available in the web service, along with the request and response types. Web Service Description Language also describes the contract between service and client.

Advantages of Soap Web Services:

SOAP defines its own security which is known as WS Security and it can be written in any language and executed in any platform.

Disadvantages of Soap Web Services:

SOAP uses XML format that defines many standards that must be followed while developing SOAP applications. So SOAP web services are slow and it requires more bandwidth and resource.

REST Web Services:

The REST (Representational State Transfer) is not considered as a set of standards or rules rather than it is a style of software architecture. The applications which are following this architecture are referred to as RESTful. REST concerns more on the resources rather than SOAP which targets the actions. REST locates the resources by using URL and location of resources depends on the type of transport protocol …) for the actions to be performed on the resources (with HTTP – GET, POST, PUT, DELETE…). The REST service performs the action based on the transport action verb.

Advantages of RESTful Web Services:

RESTful Web Services are fast because there is no strict specification, unlike SOAP which leads to the consumption of less bandwidth and resource. RESTful web services can be written in any language and executed in any platform easily.

RESTful web service permits different data format such as Plain Text, HTML, XML, and JSON and it can also use SOAP web services as the implementation

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Web Service Features:

1. Web Services are based on XML:

XML is used to exclude any networking, operating system, or platform binding and it is used at data description and data transportation layers. Its operation is interoperable at its core level.

2. Loosely Coupled:

A client of a web service is not fixed and its interface can support innovation over time. Web-based services don’t negotiate the client’s ability to communicate with the service. The tightly coupled system refers that the client and server logic are closely tied to one and it also indicates that if one interface changes, then another must be updated. Loosely coupled architecture is used to make software systems more manageable. The loosely coupled architecture allows more straightforward integration between various systems.

3. Coarse-Grained:

Object-oriented technologies expose their functions through individual methods. To build a Java program from starting requires the creation of various fine-grained functions. These functions are collected into a coarse-grained role that is consumed by either a client or another service. The interfaces that they prove should be coarse-grained.

4. Ability to be Synchronous or Asynchronous:

Synchronous refers to the binding of the client to the execution of the function. The client blocks and delays in completing its service before any continuation. Asynchronous operations enable a client to invoke a task and then execute other functions. Asynchronous clients can look their result later but synchronous clients receive their effect when the service has completed. Asynchronous capability is an important method in enabling loosely coupled systems.

5. Supports Remote Procedure Calls (RPCs):

Web services are used to invoke procedures, functions, and methods on remote objects using an XML-based protocol. Remote systems expose input and output framework which is supported by web service.

The development of components through Enterprise JavaBeans (EJBs) and .NET Components has more become an important part of the architecture. A web function supports RPC by providing services of its own or by translating incoming invocations into an invocation of an EJB or a .NET component.

6. Supports Document Exchange:

One of the essential benefits of XML is representing data and also complex documents. These documents are very simple and they can be as involved as defining an entire book or Request for Quotation (RFQ). Web services support the transfer of documents to facilitate business integration.

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