What are web services

Hi Experts,

I've been wondering:  what are web services?

I've been developing a lot of "normal" Windows applications lately.  A few times now it has happended that I've run into trouble with something (I'm fairly new to .Net) and in my search for a solution to my problem, people have suggested that I rather use web services.  Obviously, not even knowing what they are I always ignore that advice.  Lately I've started seeing and hearing the words web services more and more and I've decided to find out what they are!

Any advice, information, suggestions or links to helpful resources would be appreciated.  Before I delve into too many links and manuals and stuff I would prefer a few simple explanations on what web services are just to get me started.

I know that in VB.Net you can create one of two main types of applications: Windows Application (Project) or a Web Applicaton (Web Site).  Has web services got something to do with the distinction between these two types, is it a third type of application or is it a service/technique/resource/control/something that can be used within the two types of applications mentioned above???

If I do receieve a lot of helpful info from different experts I will increase the points and share them as best I can.

Looking forward to it!
Who is Participating?
The term Web services describes a standardized way of integrating Web-based applications using the XML, SOAP, WSDL and UDDI open standards over an Internet protocol backbone. XML is used to tag the data, SOAP is used to transfer the data, WSDL is used for describing the services available and UDDI is used for listing what services are available. Used primarily as a means for businesses to communicate with each other and with clients, Web services allow organizations to communicate data without intimate knowledge of each other's IT systems behind the firewall.
Unlike traditional client/server models, such as a Web server/Web page system, Web services do not provide the user with a GUI. Web services instead share business logic, data and processes through a programmatic interface across a network. The applications interface, not the users. Developers can then add the Web service to a GUI (such as a Web page or an executable program) to offer specific functionality to users.

Web services allow different applications from different sources to communicate with each other without time-consuming custom coding, and because all communication is in XML, Web services are not tied to any one operating system or programming language. For example, Java can talk with Perl, Windows applications can talk with UNIX applications.

Web services do not require the use of browsers or HTML.

What is Web Service?
    Learn the Very Basics on Web Service
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