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Chapter 30. Web Services > An Introduction to Web Services

An Introduction to Web Services

Web services are new types of web applications. They are self-contained, modular programs that can be published, found, and called over the web. They perform functions that can range from something as simple as validating a credit card to updating hotel reservations. After a web service is deployed, users, applications, and other web services can invoke functions (called web methods) that you build within the web service. Still seem like it's too good to be true? Think again. Web services are currently being used in Microsoft's My Services and Passport initiatives. The Passport authentication service is a self-contained web service that exposes an authentication scheme allowing other developers and applications to validate a user's credentials from one location. What this means is that if every developer used the Passport authentication service, it would eliminate the need for ever having to program your own login page.

So what makes up a web service? The basic framework of a web service lies within its platform. Platform, you ask? Web services, unlike their predecessors (RPC, CORBA, and DCOM), rely on open standards. These standards are outlined next:


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