Introduction

The Internet has opened up venues to seek information anytime and anywhere using web services. Advancing technology and smartphones in hand have made accessing information easy without consuming much time. Operations such as checking the bank balance or verifying for the route to reach the destination can be achieved in a matter of a few clicks and seconds instead of waiting in a queue in the branch and verifying the route with people. This information required is sourced to the person via Web Service. Let’s take a peek into web services and types of web services now.

  1. What Is Web Service?
  2. Need For Web Services
  3. Types Of Web Services
  4. Web Service Architecture
  5. Web Service Characteristics
  6. Advantages of Web service

1. What Is Web Service?

Web service is a communication medium between the person who seeks the information and the system which provides the information. Let’s try to understand what happens when you enter the details to check the bank balance in the window.

The window wherein details are given is called ‘client’. The details are collected by the middle layer which communicates with the source that is ‘server’. The server verifies the received data and sends the response to the client via the middle layer. This middle layer or the communication layer is known as Web Service between client and server. This communication layer establishment is the fundamentals of web services. A web service can be designed to carry out certain operations.

2. Need For Web Services

Technology has advanced so much that there are a wide variety of programming languages available to design business applications. The applications can be developed in Java, .Net, Angular JS, Node.js to name a few.

These different applications need to have a common platform to communicate and for sending and retrieving data. As the applications are built in different development languages it gets challenging to set up a precise communication channel between applications. This precise communication channel is where web services come into the picture. The web services provide a reliable and accurate platform for applications built in different programming languages to communicate with each other.

The client sends a request to the server via web service. The server processes the request and a response is sent back to the client from the server via web services.

3. Types of Web Services

There are two types of web services that are widely used.

  • SOAP web services.
  • RESTful web services.

Web service needs certain components to be in sequence and be completely functional. These components are essential and need to be there regardless of the programming language used for the web service.

A) SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol)

SOAP is a messaging protocol that is transport independent. SOAP transfers XML or extended markup language data as messages in SOAP. The XML document has a defined pattern. The data transfer and retrieval happens through HTTP which is a standard web protocol in Web service and SOAP.

B) Restful web services

REST full form is REpresented State Transfer. Restful Web Services is a scalable, light, and easy to maintain service built on REST architecture. The protocol used here is also HTTP. 

The type of web service can be chosen from soap and rest web services based on suitable needs.

4. Web Service Architecture

The web service architecture mainly has three major role players in it. They are:

  • ProviderDesigns the web service and makes it available to the application at the client side to use it.
  • RequestorThe requestor is the part of the client application that gets in touch with the web service. The client application can be Java, .Net, or any other program.
  • BrokerBroker is an application that specified UDDI details. The UDDI ensures that the client application gets in touch with web service.

5. Web service Characteristics

Commonly found web service characteristics are as below:

  • Web services are XML-Based

XML or extended markup language completely removes the networking and platform dependency. As XML is the language that is commonly used and understood by networks and platforms.

  • Web service is not bound to any client

The client and web service are not tightly coupled with each other. This means if there is any change in the web service then the client will not be impacted and there will be no change in the way the client calls the web service. This loose coupling makes software systems easy to manage and provides simple integration between different systems.

  • Web service support Remote Procedure Calls (RPCs)

Web services support the client to invoke functions, procedures, and methods on remote objects with XML protocol. 

  • Web service enables document exchange

XML represents data and also documents. The documents can be a whole book or just an address. This generic representation is a key advantage. 

6. Advantages of Web service

Web services provide quite a few advantages as mentioned below.

  • Web services are easy to access

The web service functionality can be accessed by HTTP protocol. The contact can be established over the internet. As most of the applications are on the internet, web services are even more useful. The web service present on the internet can provide the necessary support to the client when required.

  • Web services enable interoperability

Web services establish a communication channel between applications. The need to write code specific to the language of the application is not required. A common generic code is written and well understood by applications. Applications can communicate easily with each other irrespective of their programming language in which they are developed

  • Standard Industry protocol understood by one and all

Web services use the standard protocol for communication. The four layers of web services such as service transport, XML messaging, service description, and service discovery layer use industry defined protocols.

  • Web services are cost-effective

Internet with less cost is sufficient to implement web services as they use SOAP over HTTP protocol.

Conclusion

Web services enable users to use different applications without worrying about how they fetch data. The developers of the client application also need not design additional code for establishing the communication channel with the servers. Web services are designed as per the industry standards and cost-effective to use. They are of use to websites wherein data is retrieved from servers. Web services are not required in the case of service websites where one is promoting their services to the target audience.

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