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Web Services Support

Web services are Web-based enterprise applications that use open-XML-based standards and transport protocols to exchange data with calling clients. The J2EE platform provides the XML APIs and tools you need to quickly design, develop, test, and deploy Web services and clients that fully interoperate with other Web services and clients running on Java-based or non-Java-based platforms.

It is easy to write Web services and clients with the J2EE XML APIs. All you do is pass parameter data to the method calls and process the data returned, or for document-oriented web services, send documents containing the service data back and forth. No low-level programming is needed because the XML API implementations do the work of translating the application data to and from an XML-based data stream that is sent over the standardized XML-based transport protocols. These XML-based standards and protocols are introduced in the next sections.

The translation of data to a standardized XML-based data stream is what makes Web services and clients written with the J2EE XML APIs fully interoperable. This does not necessarily mean the data being transported includes XML tags because the transported data can itself be plain text, XML data, or any kind of binary data such as audio, video, maps, program files, CAD documents or the like. The next section, Extensible Markup Language (XML), introduces XML and explains how parties doing business can use XML tags and schemas to exchange data in a meaningful way.

Extensible Markup Language (XML)

Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a cross-platform, extensible, and text-based standard for representing data. When XML data is exchanged between parties, the parties are free to create their own tags to describe the data, set up schemas to specify which tags can be used in a particular kind of XML document, and use XML style sheets to manage the display and handling of the data.

For example, a Web service can use XML and a schema to produce price lists, and companies that receive the price lists and schema can have their own style sheets to handle the data in a way that best suits their needs.

HTTP-SOAP Transport Protocol

Client requests and Web service responses are transmitted as Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) messages over HTTP to enable a completely interoperable exchange between clients and Web services all running on different platforms and at various locations on the Internet. HTTP is a familiar request and response standard for sending messages over the Internet, and SOAP is an XML-based protocol that follows the HTTP request and response model.

The SOAP portion of a transported message handles the following:

WSDL Standard Format

The Web Services Description Language (WSDL) is a standardized XML format for describing network services. The description includes the name of the service, the location of the service, and how to communicate with the service. WSDLs can be stored in UDDI registries and/or published on the Web. The J2EE platform provides a tool for generating the WSDL for a Web service that uses remote procedure calls to communicate with clients.

UDDI and ebXML Standard Formats

Other XML-based standards such as Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI) and ebXML make it possible for businesses to publish information on the Internet about their products and Web services where the information can be readily and globally accessed by clients who want to do business.

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All of the material in The J2EE Tutorial for the Sun ONE Platform is copyright-protected and may not be published in other works without express written permission from Sun Microsystems.