Real-world enterprise application integration solutions

About Web Services

The first wave of Internet commercialization focused on the World Wide Web. Companies extended their client-server architectures to create Web-based applications that allow customers and business partners to interact with an enterprise through a Web browser in a traditional request-reply relationship. These systems primarily allow users to browse linked documents, download files and manually initiate purchases and other transactions. The next wave of Internet development is focusing back on the Internet itself as an open computer systems network and will allow the creation of automated system-to-system relationships using Web Services.

What are Web Services?
The term "Web Services" is used by Red Oak to describe software applications that make selected functionality accessible to other applications over the Internet. This connection between applications uses standard transport and messaging protocols to communicate and XML to exchange data regardless of the specifics of each application's implementation. Web Services represent a new level of inter-program interaction as they allow, for the first time, a way to build large, flexible applications dynamically from a set of standard independent software parts. Why are Web Services important?
Web Services make it possible to integrate applications between multiple enterprises cost-effectively. By using standard protocols and the universal flexibility of XML, business processes built to extend across multiple business units can now be modeled across multiple IT systems as well. Web Services build upon the huge investment in software components within the enterprise that already represent critical business logic, unlocking those investments for new cost-saving applications far beyond what is possible in a web browser context. Web Services are a fundamental shift away from the limitations of system-to-user interactions and into fully automated system-to-system integrations. In essence, Web Services take the lessons of the World Wide Web (universal connectivity, open standards, etc.) and apply them to create a new class of application that can be published, located and invoked dynamically across the Internet by other applications allowing for the automatic system-to-system initiation of transactions, information retrieval and other activities.

Why will companies implement Web Services?
Companies will seek out Web Services because they will allow IT departments to cut the cost of implementing and maintaining intra- and inter-company systems. They will be able to reduce their operating costs by using Web Services to automate business relationships, replace manual data entry, and customize each of its digitally-based business relationships.

What makes Web Services possible?
Web Services are possible today because of a core set of technologies and standards that have matured in the past year. For more information on the specific standards and technologies underlying Web Services:

How will Web Services be built?
Web Services are fundamentally different from the construction of Web applications or traditional client-server applications, though they build on elements of both. The key to constructing useful Web Services is in the definition of the service description that serves as an explicit interface to the exposed service. Much of the implementation work involves mapping from the published interface to the underlying application logic and business data that support it.

Who will build Web Services?
One of the powerful lessons of the recent years of Web application development is the need to make complex technology accessible to a broad base of developers. Just as HTML made it easy to create browser-based interfaces, Web application frameworks like JavaServer Pages vastly expanded the pool of developers who could create functional and valuable applications. So too with Web Services is there a need to leverage the skills and experience of the largest group of developers within the enterprise.

What do Web Services builders need?
Web Services builders need:

  • Rapid visual tools that automate portions of the development cycle, including code generation and syntax-aware editors
  • Various samples drawn from real-world applications
  • Support for a variety of implementation languages including popular scripting languages
  • Tools to automate the translation and transformation of business data to and from XML
  • Fast and easy service deployment and management
  • Powerful logging and debugging facilities that span multiple nodes in a network

How do you get started with Web Services?
For as little as $25,000.

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