Those of you who are new to application development might be confused what does web service means & why it’s important in today’s time. When I started working, I too use to ponder what is it. Name appears to be cool & yes web service technology is really cool. Let’s understand it.
When we develop application aka software than one of the important characteristic which it should posses is robustness. We cannot store all the data in the application itself. You might say why not connect the application with database directly but this reduces robustness & have security risk. Web service becomes a layer between the applications. It becomes a mechanism to transfer data over Internet easily between the systems/devices. For example, lets take an example of flipkart (e-commerce website). It has website, mobile app as channel to sell the products. So, their development team is going to write API which can be re-used on both website as well as on mobile device. This reduces efforts, increases robustness. API will fetch the data for product name, details, price, Inventory etc so if in future they want to try different channel say B2B than existing API’s can be used to build B2B system easily.
There are 2 types of web services commonly used:
RESTful aka JSON (Java script object notification) is used majorly as it’s light-weight & easier to implement as compared to SOAP. SOAP (simple object access protocol) is used in legacy systems, applications which require lot of security etc. I hope this small article was able to convene the concept of web services because if you understand the concept that it becomes easier to understand further in detail.