What are Web Services?

Fri Oct 08 2021

2 min read

Application Programming Interface (APIs) provides you with a communication channel that the client and server use to talk. APIs have several types, and one of them is Web Services. Let’s take a look at it.

What are Web Services?

It is a medium, a piece of software that allows communication between client and server on the World Wide Web. It uses XML for the messaging system that encodes all communications to web service.

Because web services use XML for communication, they have overcome the language barrier and can communicate with any application despite what programming language it is written in. A client requests a web service by sending a request via XML, and the web service sends a response back in XML.

There are different types of web services. Let’s take a look at them:

  • Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI)
  • SOAP
  • REST

Characteristics of Web Service

Let’s take a look at some of the characteristics of web services.

XML Based

As mentioned above, web services use XML for data representation at the data transportation layer.

Loosely Coupled

The web service is independent of the client, and they are not bound with each other. They are loosely coupled, which means if a web service changes over time, the client will still use the same method to call the web service.

Synchronous And Asynchronous Functionality

There are various ways to utilize different web services. You can call them synchronously, where the completion of one request acts as an input for the second request. Web services are used asynchronously where multiple operations are working in parallel.

Remote Procedure Call Support

Web services can be used to invoke third-party functions, procedures, and methods of remote objects using XML-based protocol.

Supports Document Exchange

Since web services rely on XML for data exchange, they can send data and complex documents.