Web Service, What is it?

This post is my initial conception of a web service.

The following post aims to explain through a few basic statements, what my new job involves.  I began a new job using webservices on a daily basis, November 1st 2012. After a week, or two (this post is late), I have a rudimental understanding of what a webservice is.

I am currently using VB code behind a website to interact with a webservice, this means that I do not connect directly to the database I wish to pull information from, or just as importantly add information too. Interacting with the webservice to access the database means that I do not present myself to the DB as a threat, simply put, if I don’t go through the webservice or directly connect to the DB on the machine it is hosted on then I probably shouldn’t be accessing the database.

Using a webservice means that certain data formats have to be strictly adhered to, although this is the same as when directly interacting with a DB. Appropriate documentation is definately required in order to successfully use the service, that or someone experienced with the system will have to explain it to the developer. Thankfully I have had both documentation and direction from my manager, others may not be so lucky.
Webservices allow for connections to a database to be made using secure protocols over the network, meaning a secure web connection. Something which is not neccessarily used when directly connecting to a database. Webservices communicate with databases using WSDL (Web Services Description Language) an XML based language. WSDL allows a configuration file to be used to specify how the service should be used. Not to be confused with WSCL, a radio station based in Maryland, USA.

If you would like to play around with some webserivces, then check out this website: http://www.webservicex.net which offers a few public services that you may access. The services on this site present you with XML code which is human-readable markup used to categorise information. The XML code can be used in conjunction with a webservice to pass information onto the database for storage.

If you have any thoughts, opinions or even corrections you would like to make about this post.. please comment below, I will try to reply!

Written By Adam

One Comment on “Web Service, What is it?

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