Neil Davidson

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In the past, if you wanted to book a holiday over the Internet you would browse a travel agent's Web site, select a holiday, and book it. If you were lucky, you'd be able to rent a car and possibly even check on the weather. Behind the scenes, the Web server - the computer and software that the Web site lives on - would be accessing a proprietary database, or would be communicating in a proprietary fashion with back-office systems to get information about your holiday. This all changes with the use of Web services. A Web service is a system designed for the sole purpose of sitting somewhere on a network and servicing specific requests from clients. These clients aren't real people browsing the Internet from their desks; they're other computers. What Are Web Services? When Web services are used to book a holiday, you still browse your travel agent's Web site, but beh... (more)