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10. Calling Web Services from Flash Remoting > 10.1. What Is a Web Service?

What Is a Web Service?

Strictly speaking, web services have been around for many years. By definition, a web service is any form of service that can be accessed by an application over the Internet. In the past few years, however, the term web services has come to mean any service that utilizes one of the standardized XML web service technologies, such as SOAP or XML-RPC.

The advantages of XML are widely known. Any technology can communicate with any other technology if they share a common language. XML is a standardized way of transferring information that almost every technology can understand. XML does, however, have some disadvantages. It is cumbersome, because the data has to be described using plain text tags. So, while it is human-readable, it doesn’t provide the best format for transmitting binary data across wires. Flash Remoting circumvents this problem by passing data between the Flash Remoting adapter (the proxy for the web service) and the Flash client (the movie in the user’s browser) using the AMF format discussed in Chapter 1.


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