A web service is a computer program for communication and data exchange between heterogeneous applications and systems in distributed environments. It is therefore a set of tools presented on the Internet or an intranet, by and for applications or machines without human intervention, and synchronously.
The concept has been defined and implemented in the context of Web Services Activity, W3C, especially with the SOAP protocol. Associated with Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), the ebXML
consortium uses it to automate business exchanges. However, the concept was enriched with the deepening of the concepts of resource and status within the REST model, and deepening of the concept of service, the SOA model.
In more general approach, a web service is realized by an agent, made according to a specific computer technology, by a service provider. An applicant, using a request agent, use this service.
Provider and applicant share the same semantic of the web service, and agent and query agent share a description of the service to coordinate the messages they exchange.
There are several technologies behind the term Web services:
- Web services of the Representational state transfer type (REST) fully expose these tools as a set of resources (URI) identifiable and accessible by the syntax and semantics of the HTTP protocol. The REST Web Services are based on the web architecture and basic standards: HTTP, URI.
- The WS-* Web services expose the same functionality in the form of executable distance services. Their specifications are based on the SOAP standard and WSDL to transform integration problems inherited from the Middleware world with interoperability goal. The WS-* standards are often criticized as likely to generate a race to the technological performance.
However, their robustness in the middle between professional services is recognized, and they are widely used.
The World Wide Web is an application designed according to the REST architecture. Web architecture therefore replaces the client and server concept by agent and resource concept. Agents interact with resources to create, access, modify or delete a resource.
Today, we hear more and more about the interaction between resource agents, that is to say, the relationship between resources: a resource becomes the agent of another resource, but is itself a resource accessed by other agents. This is exactly the architecture described by the example of application implementation Mashups.
Web services therefore deal with resource agents where conventional procedure of Web speaks of users agents. However, the two concepts are based on the same architecture: REST.
There are therefore no fundamental difference between the interaction of a browser with a resource and that of a Web Service with a resource. The main difference lies in the format of the data representation: HTML for browsers or user agents, XML or JSON for Web Services resources or agents …
Students writing their research proposals can use free sample research papers on web servers, which define a Web service as a software implementation of a resource identified by a URL and accessed using Internet protocols. The agents concerned with the content of the representation of their condition, not the type of content. We must therefore see Web Services as a means of manipulating information, and not just as a service provider.
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