Web Services, Part I: Introduction
Benefits of Web Services
Experts and visionaries believe that the benefits of XML Web services will be instrumental in propelling explosive business growth over the next few years. One of the major benefits is Web services' ease of integration. You will easily integrate your software with other pieces of software. You can run on all kinds of machines, from the desktop to the mainframe, either within your enterprise or at external sites. This ease of integration will enable tighter business relationships and more efficient business processes.
With Web services readily available, and as the pool of XML Web services grows, you will be able to find software modules that can be integrated into your own application, by finding it and integrating it through XML Web services. Integrate with existing Web services instead of reinventing them. The bottom line is that you will be able to develop applications much faster than before.
An integral part of the XML Web services programming model, is the ease of integration with external data sources. No longer does each application need to copy and maintain external data sources. You can request and get information in real time, and transform it to your particular format. This will allow you to deliver individualized software and services, while your maintenance burden is reduced.
Consumers will enjoy ease of use when using XML Web services-based applications. XML Web services link applications, services, and devices together. Using Web services will be an integrated experience that excels in its simplicity. XML Web services give users the ability to act on information any time, any place, and from any smart device.
Businesses will love Web services because it will force them to streamline their processes. All suppliers will use the same language to describe their offerings. An XML Web service is a simple, reliable way to blend existing systems with new applications and services.
Microsoft is already sporting several commercial applications that were written in a record speed, thanks to the use of XML Web services. The first one is from Dollar Rent-A-Car. In two weeks, programmers built, tested, and deployed a Web Services-based solution that translates reservation requests and data between the company's mainframe-based reservation system and an airline partner's UNIX servers. Dollar can now reuse the same integration model to link their reservation system with other airline or hotel partners. The second case is expedia.com. This is a site that will find you the lowest price itinerary. They are now in the process of transforming itineraries into communication centers. These centers are Web services that users can access to get relevant and timely information at their convenience. With this new service, Expedia hopes to attract new customers and further strengthen the loyalty of their existing customer base.
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