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I would also point out that this is very different from (but not
necessarily in conflict with) REST. REST says that all data is exposed
through a consistent interface, with every distinct information item
being globally-addressable through "mediated views". "Web services" on
the other hand, says that my data is exposed to you through a single
address; the address of my mailbox outside the castle wall. You drop a
message in my mailbox, my serf goes and gets it to deliver to me, and
then I decide what (if anything) to put in a message back to you. You
never know what goes on inside my fiefdom to produce the end message
that you see.
That is the best description of what I understand about web services.
It is a back end messageing tool using HTTP (and many others) as the transport
mechanism. For system information that isn't normally exposed to HTTP.
IOW, It may be generally available for anyone to consume or it may require
a contract to run. The RPC part of it, is the Local coding that deals with the
system. So that the remote vendor doesn't have to worry about what the other
is using as the backend. IOW, I don't have to write the Oracle calls or
whatever is on the
backend of that system. the person writing the web service does that.
It should be pointed out, that these are systems that are not normally exposed
via HTTP the other
protocols. It is useing HTTP as a transport mechanism.
But the description of the Castle Wall, is a very good description.