In ths new post to his blog Brandon Savage asks the question "what constitutes a web service" and explains some of the things that he sees as defining characteristics of them.
The explosion of the concept of "web services" has generated a debate over what "web services" actually are. An article by Raj Mishra tries to limit the concept of "web service" to a strict ten-point list, insisting that a web service have a WSDL and uses SOAP. While this is a perfectly fine sentiment (even the one endorsed by WC3), it certainly is a limiting description.
Brandon notes that his definition as to what constitutes a "web service" has broadened from the strict "SOAP and a WSDL" the W3C implies. Instead he suggests three points that would help make a better definition of a service:
- Provides an endpoint or endpoints for the retrieval and/or addition of data through a standard format; and
- Contains one or more documented method(s) for retrieving or adding that data; and
- Allows access by users who are not operating from the same servers as the endpoint(s).