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Web Services Basics – part 1

A quick introduction to Webservices

Need of Web Services :

Internet is a collection of many technical protocols that allows thousands of programs and applications communicate with each other.

Since they are developed independently keeping various things  – like business needs ,  Platforms and technologies in mind, there was an incompatibility often for a communication by two piece of software programs.

An use case to understand Better  :

Say we have  an online tourism services application that offers Tourism packages and plans that includes booking the road transport , hotels , flights, tourist spots  tickets for  tourists and travelers across the globe.

To plan the Tour properly for a group (to save some bucks) and to offer the best hassle-free services to its tourist clients ,  tourism application need the accurate and up to date information from the respective partner services.  Also , application needs up to date latest accurate information in case , to allow the customer to change his plans anytime or if client postpones his travel plan in last minute.

In this case, Partner Services are  :

Transport Partners( 1 or many )  : who offers services like transport scheduling, availability booking and pricing for his customers.

Airlines partners (1 or Many)  :  Flight transport schedules , availability, price and booking for its clients.

Tourism Destinations ( Many Destinations in a city) :  All the tourist destinations offers its services like facilitating the tourists for booking tickets , opening and closing times , services offered  and  map information.Hotel Services :  All the Hotel related services like suite type , price , availability , food etc to its clients.

Finally, we may need to consider Weather Service too and have to rely the on a weather service information for travelers to make travel plan so is to avoid travels being affected due to weather.

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From the above scenario, you can see that all the different stakeholders are using their own applications written on various technologiesand communicate with different protocols and business objects and were hosted on different platforms.

Therefore , to establish this interchangeability and to achieve smooth communication between all these partner Services :

we are in need of an interface  :

  • that supports various data models and formats.
  • abstract in nature hiding specifications and technical details
  • hides internal underlying complexities.
  • exposes its functionality to the consumers all over the globe.

As a solution , Entire internet users were in need of a standardized ( Every user on internet adopts and adheres to the same standard) solution that enables cross-platform compatibility among applications irrespective of underlying technical and business specifications.

To address these goals , The Web Service, or  WS – Specification is a developing and regulatory body of standards that has come up with various standards and specifications to enable interoperability and compatibility among cross-platform applications.

one of the important and key benefit of Internet is that it prevents individual vendors from imposing the vendor specific standard on the internet. To achieve this, usually governing body of this standards mainly focuses on protocols rather than implementations and this is one of the successful factor for success of internet over the years since all the heterogeneous applications over the internet communicate through these common shared protocols.

To summarize, A Web services is a set of related functionality that was built based on common standards and can be programatically accessed over the internet.  Entire business can be developed as a Web Services that are grouped and categorized by some criteria based on functionality or purpose they serve. Consumers consuming these web services can dynamically  mix and match to achieve a goal of  complex transactional unit of work by very minimal programming.

Web Services allow all the consumers and producers across the globe to discover each other, subscribe , consume and perform transaction operations without any human interactions.

continued in Web Services – Part2

Written by Ramesh Metta


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