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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Web Services - Part 1 Introduction

This is an age of Digitization and Communication. We want to make every aspect our life as easy as we can.We are trying to digitize every business process that we know such as marketing, sales. Internet is playing a pivotal role in making world a global village. We can reach anyone, anytime, anywhere. It is blurring the physical boundaries and eliminating the time differences.

Now we are ready to embrace the next generation Internet. Which is not only going to connect
computer but anything that can handle digital data. Already in Phase 1 was have mobile phones, pda, black berry's considerable changing our business models and the way we conduct our business. Now our office is a room with desk in it, it has expanded and can be a city, state or a country. And as we progress in this directions it will not be just mobile phones and computers we will have every equipment that will be able to connect and operated through Internet.

But how are we making this happen? How is that possible that such distinct equipments are able to connect and communicate? As we know that for anything to communicate there has to be something common between them. Now that common thing between all these things is a Web Service. Which is nothing but a language based on XML and SOAP which provides basis for these equipments to communication with each other. Future applications are going to be web enabled and based on
Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). To explain it in layman terms we can say that anybody who would want to use these application will have some services on his disposal, which he can use to get his work done. Before we can understand what a web service is we have to understand three things.

  • XML : Xtensible Markup Language
  • SOAP : Service Object Access Protocol
  • WSDL : Web Service Description Language

XML : In simple language Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a simple, very flexible text
format derived from SGML (ISO 8879). Originally designed to meet the challenges of large-scale electronic publishing, XML is also playing an increasingly important role in the exchange of a wide variety of data on the Web and elsewhere.
(To explain XML in detail is out of scope for this article but you can visit below links to get more details on XML)
W3 SchoolWikipediaXML communities, ResourcesXML Information, News

SOAP :SOAP originally stood for Simple Object Access Protocol, and lately also Service Oriented Architecture Protocol, but is now simply SOAP. SOAP makes use of an Internet application layer protocol as a transport protocol. SOAP is nothing but a wrapper around XML data. It describes the data it is carrying. That is how diverse application can understand the what is being sent to them without knowing who sent them. Of course there are other methods also to connect to diverse applications such as CORBA, GIOP, ICE, and DCOM

WSDL: It is again nothing but XML structure defining or rather describing the service the application is providing. It describes what kind of data it can accept. What kind of function it can perform and what kind of output it is going to return. In more technical terms it can be described as an XML format that allows service interfaces to be described along with the details of their bindings
to specific protocols. Typically used to generate server and client code, and for configuration.Which any application that has capability of understanding XML can use.

A Web Service is nothing but usage of above said technologies in combination to exchange data
between heterogeneous application.

As next part of this article I will define Web Services in Context of Siebel. Answers to questions like how are they helpful and a turtorial to create a web services in Siebel and a real case study.

To Download a step by step tutorial on creating Inbound and Outbound Web Services Click Here.


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