One of the things our technology use survey revealed is that members as a whole want to know more about Web services. Of course, we will accommodate you, but first, we wanted to make sure you knew about the Web services content we already offer on

What’s the point behind Web services?
They’ve been hyped as a solution to all programming problems, but the one area where Web services has thus far really shined is application integration, where some feel they are already displacing older standards, such as EDI. Check out these articles to see how Web services makes integrating applications easier:

  • “Using Web services for application integration” gives you a quick overview of Web services from a direct application integration point of view. It explains how the .NET and J2EE platforms support the use of the technology.
  • It seems that everyone has an old legacy app running somewhere that they haven’t been able to update or get rid of for one reason or another. In “Broker architecture for Web services,” you’ll learn how Web services can open up an old legacy application and give it some new life.

Like all technologies, Web services aren’t one-size-fits-all: There are some situations where the Web services route won’t be a good choice. In the two-part series that includes the articles “Is WSDL right for your B2B back-end application?” and “WSDL for B2B: Integrating applications across companies, part 2,” you’ll learn the fundamental questions to ask when considering a Web services integration solution.

The technology behind Web services
Before you can start building Web services, you’ll need to check out all the technology. Can you tell UDDI from WSDL? If not, step this way and load up for the “Magical Web service tour,” where you’ll find out about the supporting technologies of the Web services world. On the way, you’ll make brief stops to examine the UDDI protocol, WSDL, SOAP, and ebXML. When you return, check out these articles for more in-depth information:

Building a Web service
Once you have your head around the alphabet soup of supporting technologies, you can set about building an actual Web service on whatever your chosen platform happens to be. already has how-to articles showing you how this is done with three different development languages:

…with Perl
“An introduction to SOAP” and “Enhancing your SOAP::Lite Web service” give you a guided tour of Perl’s SOAP::Lite toolkit, which allows Perl programmers to hack together Web services with relative ease.

…with .NET
If .NET is your thing, then check out “Creating a .NET Web service” to learn the basics by setting up a currency conversion service meant to convert British pounds to U.S. dollars.

…with VB6 and COM
Those still in the land of “.NOT” should check out “SOAP bubbles on the wind: SOAP with VB6 COM components” for the skinny on using Microsoft’s SOAP toolkit.

What now?

What sorts of challenges do you see with using Web services? What areas would you like to see covered in more depth on Make a suggestion via e-mail or by posting to the discussion below.

Upcoming event from CNET
We’ll have even more Web services coverage coming soon. In the meantime, assuming your travel budget is still alive and kicking, you might want to check out CNET Networks’ upcoming event, Building a Web Services Foundation, scheduled for Dec. 10 and 11, 2002.