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What is Web Service Protocols?

Published On: December 6, 2023

The global web connects hundreds of thousands of machines from numerous networks all around the world. A web service is a standardized method of sending messages between client and server applications on the World Wide Web. Web services in cloud computing are discoverable and callable over the network and function as software modules built for certain purposes.When a client calls a web service, it receives certain capabilities. It works with open protocols and standards that enable the exchange of data between different applications or systems. Web services are language-independent, allowing software programs on different platforms to communicate over the Internet, similar to inter-process communication on a single computer.

A web service is any program or cloud technology that utilizes established web protocols (HTTP or HTTPS) to exchange data, often in XML. This enables programs written in various languages to communicate by exchanging data, with the client submitting an XML request and the service responding with an XML reply.

Let’s explore the functioning of Web Service Protocols and the key components required for their operation. Here’s a quick explanation:

Functions of Web Services Protocols:

  • It utilizes a standardized XML messaging protocol.
  • It can be accessed through both the internet and intranet networks.
  • It is independent of operating systems or programming languages.
  • A straightforward location approach can be employed for its identification.
  • It is self-describing through adherence to the XML standard.

Advantages of Web Service Protocol:

Following are some of few advantages of Web Service Protocols,

  • Interoperability: Web service protocols foster interoperability by enabling seamless communication and data exchange between diverse systems and platforms.
  • Standardization: Ensuring a consistent framework for communication, web service protocols adhere to established standards, minimizing compatibility issues.
  • Scalability: Supporting scalable solutions, web service protocols enable systems to handle increased loads and adapt effectively to growing demands.
  • Enhanced Reusability: Standardized protocols promote the reuse of components and services, contributing to more efficient development practices.
  • Platform Independence: Designed to be platform-agnostic, web service protocols facilitate seamless interaction between applications across various environments and technologies.
  • Security: Many web service protocols incorporate security features such as encryption and authentication, contributing to the overall security of data exchange.

Web Service Protocols types:

Multiple types of Web Services Protocols exist, each with unique characteristics and applications. Following are some notable types of Web Services Protocols:

  • XML-RPC (Remote Procedure Call)
  • REST (Representational State Transfer)
  • SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol)
  • WSFL (Web Services Flow Language)
  • BEEP (Blocks Extensible Exchange Protocol)
  • UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration)

Among these types of Web Service Protocols, let’s get a brief view on few of them.

SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol):

SOAP is one of the lightweight Web Service Protocols that is commonly used to develop online APIs using Extensible Markup Language (XML). While XML tags offer the structure for effective data exchange, they are insufficient for web-based data interchange. The Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), an XML-based protocol that enables exchange of information in distant situations, fills this void. 

SOAP messages follow a defined message format that includes an obligatory envelope, an optional header, and a mandatory content. To avoid naming conflicts, the envelope specifies XML namespaces and encoding styles. SOAP messages may pass through intermediate nodes, each of which can provide extra services such as data transformation or security activities. 

The SOAP header allows for the transmission of additional processing information to intermediary nodes, which is frequently used for security-related data. The body contains the primary content that is intended for the eventual recipient.

UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration):

UDDI, which stands for Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration, is a specification, publication, and discovery standard for online services offered by service providers. It provides a specification that supports data hosting via web services. 

There is a repository within UDDI where WSDL (Web Service Description Language) files can be hosted. This enables client applications to find WSDL files that include information about the various operations provided by a web service. 

Essentially, UDDI acts as a registry where the relevant information for an online service is saved, acting as a comprehensive database for all WSDL files. The UDDI registry, similar to a telephone directory that contains an individual’s name, address, and phone number, allows client applications to locate the location of a given online service.

REST (Representational State Transfer): 

REST, or Representational State Transfer, is a design technique for networked applications. It focuses an emphasis on simplicity, scalability, and statelessness. RESTful systems communicate using conventional HTTP techniques such as GET and POST and exploit resources indicated by URLs. 

This method allows for a stateless client-server interface, which improves scalability and flexibility. RESTful APIs concentrate on resource representations, often in JSON or XML forms, to promote a reliable and open communication architecture. This simplified design makes development easier and promotes a more flexible and scalable architecture. 

Because of its simplicity, efficiency, and compliance with the HTTP protocol, REST has become widely used for developing web services and APIs.

Comparison between Web Service Protocols and Web APIs:

Before we explore the differences and similarities, let’s know what a Web API really means. A Web API comprises protocols and procedures for managing interactions between various software components, generating JSON or XML data as output. Significantly, Web APIs offer flexibility in utilizing different communication protocols.



Web Service Protocols

Communication Channel

Efficient on mobile devices and tablets.

More flexible, with limitations in desktop and related environments.


Involves packing and unpacking data packets.

JSON preferred for its lightweight nature, aiming for optimal results with minimal effort, improved performance, and reduced computational cycles.

Payload Format

Uses JSON format for payload.

Employs XML-RPC or SOAP(XML) for payload.

Preference in E-Commerce

Vital in the domain of E-Commerce, driving innovative advancements and contributing to increased profit margins.

Also significant in E-Commerce, playing a pivotal role in technological advancements and profitability.


Overall, Web Service Protocols is an essential component that enables seamless communication and interaction between various software programs via the internet. They leverage well-known protocols like JSON, XML-RPC, and SOAP to promote compatibility and ease data sharing. 

Web Service Protocols are becoming an essential component of current software development because of their significant contribution to integration, efficiency, and effective data sharing in today’s technological environment.

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