College Blog Archive: Web Services Benefits and Risks

The following information is from my College Archive of assigned weekly Blogs.

This blog comes from my XML, XSL and Related Technologies Class

XML Topic – Web Services for Business – Benefits and Risks
Original Post Date:  Sunday, April 8th, 2012

This week’s blog focuses briefly on how Web Services are used in business and the benefits and risks of using web services.  Businesses can use web services for applications that require reusable components such as currency conversions, weather reports or other commonly used data.  IT networks can also take advantage of web services’ ability to work across almost any operating system or with a wide array of programming languages to help set up business to business communication.

Some of the benefits of using web services include the ability for businesses to communicate with each other and/or with clients.  This can be done without revealing information about their IT systems or other sensitive information stored behind their firewall.  Since the communication is done using XML, web services allow communications across a multitude of operating systems or programming languages (as previously mentioned).  Web Service applications do not require the use of browsers or HTML however, their data can be transferred using HTTP protocol.

Web services also pose a risk to businesses.  For example, a web service can be discontinued or altered thereby making a designed application produce an error message, insufficient data or become completely inoperable.  Web services are also subject to security risks such as buffer overflows, XML injections, and session hijacking.

The Webopedia website (listed below) really helps put the overall web services terminology into perspective.  It provided a simple explanation of the purpose of each web service component.  Quite simply, XML is used to tag data, SOAP to transfer, and WSDL to describe the services available.

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