W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-ws@w3.org > April 2002

Re: potential users of web services

From: Monika Solanki <monika@dmu.ac.uk>
Date: Tue, 09 Apr 2002 08:28:21 +0100
Message-ID: <3CB29815.2060607@dmu.ac.uk>
To: www-ws@w3.org
I certainly agree with the fact that word "Web service" does not portray 
in the true sense what it is actually suppose to mean. I believe that it 
is the architecture that  characterizes any particular Distributed 
Computing paradigm. Currently the hype surronding web services is based 
more on technologies like SOAP, UDDI, ebXML etc., not that these are 
less important. However I feel that the definition should be symbolic of 
the architecture.


Toufic Boubez wrote:

>I'm sorry I didn't catch this thread from the beginning, having been away
>from my office last week and just catching up on my email!
>Having sort-of "been there at the creation", let me first say that, in my
>mind, the term "Web Services" is a very unfortunate misnomer, since a
>definition of a "Web" service doesn't really require the Web. It was just a
>marketing buzzword that some people who shall remain nameless came up with
>at the time. In my group at IBM, when we were hammering out the details of
>UDDI and other Web Services components, it was called Service Oriented
>Architecture, and I'm sure Andrew Layman can tell us that it was probably
>also called something else at Microsoft.
>Having said that, my view of web services is that it's any platform- and
>implementation-independent software (or even functionality, although you can
>always wrap functionality such as pizza baking in a software interface!)
>that can be:
>* described using an agreed upon or well known description language (for
>example WSDL is nice but not required)
>* published to an agreed upon or well known registry (for example UDDI is
>nice but not required)
>* discovered through an agreed upon or well known mechanism
>* invoked over the network through its declared API
>I usually add "composed with other services" but that's somewhat circular!
>Now, you'll see that there's no mention of XML, SOAP, etc. These are
>wonderful and extremely useful standards (the "agreed-upon or well known"
>part) but nothing prevents an internal (within the firewall) implementation
>consisting of C programs listening on sockets and sending binary data whose
>format is well-known and described in the organization to be labeled "Web
>I realise that this view might differ a bit from the "accepted" view,
>considering that the "Web Services Architecture Stack" consists of XML and
>Schema at the bottom of every layered cake, so I might make an exception for
>XML. But nowhere is it suggested that the other components such as SOAP or
>UDDI are required.
>  --  Toufic
>Toufic I. Boubez, Ph.D.
>Chief Technology Officer
>Saffron Technology
>1600 Perimeter Park Drive, Suite 300
>Morrisville, NC 27560
>919-468-8201 Voice (x109)
>919-468-8202 Fax
>"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice,
>there is"
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Andrew Layman [mailto:andrewl@microsoft.com]
>Sent: Monday, April 08, 2002 3:40 PM
>To: www-ws@w3.org
>Subject: RE: potential users of web services
>Private mail to me suggests, and I agree, that the definition could be
>slightly improved as:
>A Web service is a computational service, accessible via messages of
>definite, programming-language-neutral and platform-neutral format, and
>which has no special presumption that the results of the computation are
>used primarily for display by a user-agent.
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Andrew Layman [mailto:andrewl@microsoft.com] 
>Sent: Monday, April 08, 2002 12:29 PM
>To: Mark Baker
>Cc: www-ws@w3.org
>Subject: RE: potential users of web services
>I believe that the services you cite fit my definition of Web service
>quoted below.  I could perhaps be more concise: 
>A Web service is a computational service, accessible via messages of
>definite, language-neutral and platform-neutral format, and which has no
>special presumption that the results of the computation are used
>primarily for display on a user-agent. 
>Hope this works for you.
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Mark Baker [mailto:distobj@acm.org] 
>Sent: Friday, April 05, 2002 12:03 PM
>To: Andrew Layman
>Cc: www-ws@w3.org
>Subject: Re: potential users of web services
>On Fri, Apr 05, 2002 at 09:10:46AM -0800, Andrew Layman wrote:
>>The term Web service was created to contrast with two earlier
>>technologies.  On the one hand, it identifies a distinction from "Web
>>site" in that a Web site serves pages, typically in HTML, for display
>>a browser to a human, while a "Web service" offers a computation
>>directly to anther computer, with no special expectation that the
>>computation will be used in a browser or for display to a human. Web
>>services are not computer-to-human but computer-to-computer.
>Well, if it's the HTML that you're concerned about, why not return some
>XML or RDF via HTTP GET?  That's machine processable.  And any piece of
>software can invoke HTTP GET on a URI, no human required.
>What about this?  http://www.xmlhack.com/rss10.php
>It's an RSS feed for xmlhack.com.  No "getXmlhackRss()", just
>"GET /rss10.php".  It's also not easily human parseable.
>I don't know why that's any less a Web service than getStockQuote().

Monika Solanki
De Montfort University
Software Technology Research Laboratory
Hawthorn building, H00.18
The Gateway.
Leicester LE1 9BH, UK

phone: +44 (0)116 250 6170 intern: 6170
Received on Tuesday, 9 April 2002 03:27:31 UTC

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