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Created: February 19, 2001.
News: Cover Stories

IBM Web Services Toolkit Provides New Support for UDDI, SOAP, and WSDL.

The updated version 2.2 release of the IBM Web Services Toolkit "contains client API to access a UDDI registry, and SOAP technical previews for Web Services Systems Management technology, COM Pluggable Provider, and SOAP chaining framework. Also included are updated WSDL tools, documentation, and configuration setup utility." [02/16/2001]

"IBM Web Services Toolkit is a runtime environment as well as demo/examples to design and execute web-service applications to find one another and collaborate in business transactions without programming requirements or human intervention."

Description from the IBM alphaWorks labs web site:

"Web services are self-describing, self-contained, modular applications that can be mixed and matched with other Web services to create innovative products, processes, and value chains. Web services are Internet applications that fulfill a specific task or a set of tasks that work with many other web services in an interoperable manner to carry out their part of a complex work flow or a business transaction. In essence, they enable just-in-time application integration and these web applications can be dynamically changed by the creation of new web services. Various applications that are available on the Internet can be accessed and invoked at run time without prior knowledge and programming requirements to enable business processes and decision-making at Web speeds. IBM's Web Services Toolkit provides a runtime environment as well as demo/examples to design and execute web-service applications to find one another and collaborate in business transactions without programming requirements or human intervention."

The toolkit component that was called the Services Broker has been removed from this version of the WSTK. The toolkit now inlcudes a fully functionion client API that can be used directly access a UDDI registry. The client API makes use of the UDDI4J API which is also available. Also included are several SOAP-related technical previews: (1) the COM pluggable provider is an Apache SOAP pluggable provider that takes incoming requests to the SOAP server and delegates them to a COM object; (2) the Web Services Management Technology Preview introduces a management interface which allows SOAP server resources to be managed; (3) SOAP Chaining Framework preview demonstrates how modules of code (or Handlers) can be chained before and/or after the actrual Web Service being invoked. These Handlers allows for other, non-specific actions to be performed such as logging and security authenication.

IBM Web Services Toolkit version 2.2 contains an updated Web Services Browser which can browse a complete UDDI registry in a tree-view format. This utility can be used to browse through web services published with the Web Services Client API, publish and unpublish services, view and save services' descriptions. This Web Services Browser is supplied as a separate plug-in to the IBM XML and Web Services Development Environment alpha technology. This development environment is available on alphaWorks at The IBM XML and Web Services Development Environment creates open, platform-neutral Web services for deployment across heterogeneous systems. The WSTK demonstrates how some of the emerging technology standards such as UDDI and WSDL work together and provides simple to use examples of web services.

Examples of Web Services:

  • Credit card verification and processing during an online purchase. Today, e-merchants would have to develop Web applications that collect user data and integrate with backend systems and proprietary databases/networks of credit card agencies such as Visa and MasterCard to provide their shoppers with this convenience. A Web service can fulfill this specific need by providing an encapsulated application(s) that can be added/removed/modified based on business needs without any (or zero) significant disruptions to the business or the other business applications.
  • Package tracking applications available on the Web. These applications (provided by UPS and FedEx) integrate several applications and databases (internal and external) in the backend to determine the precise location of packages based on shipping number. These applications allow the Net merchants to provide superior customer service. Such applications can also enable build-to-order manufacturing of complex products based on materials availability and precise production scheduling and forecasting.
  • Portfolio tracking applications available on many investment sites. When an investor wants to know the net worth of his/her stock portfolio on a day when NASDAQ goes up by 200 points, these applications update the portfolio value by updating individual asset (stock) prices and performing the associated math and computation in the background, thus providing the user with a personalized and tailored service. Such applications have potential uses in business decision-making systems such as forecasting, capital allocation, etc.
  • Shopbots such as BiddersEdge or mySimon provide a convenient shopping service for the bargain hunters on the Web by scouring the Web for all auctions and present the user with the best deal for the item he/she seeks. These bots can be extended to automate functions such as evaluation and selection of suppliers for materials purchasing or identifying qualified and available product support specialist (or other available resources) for a customer email inquiry.

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