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EIDX Glossary

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This letter last updated 08 November 2002

Web Page - A page on a web site, such as an HTML document.

Web Server - Refers to both hardware and software.  Web server hardware is the computer that the web site runs on.  Web server software delivers web pages to browsers on computers connected to the Internet.

Web Service - Sometimes called "application service."  An application that runs on the internet. The web service may be a local service that exists on the same computer that runs it, but more and more, the term "web service" is being used to describe an application that exists on one computer in the network, and can be invoked and executed by another application on another computer in the network.   Some insist that the term "web service" should be used only for those applications that serve as a "re-usable building blocks" used in other, larger applications, or services that can be described as "short lived."

  • Web services can be simple programs. For example, a simple web service could be created that performs currency conversion. Instead building currency conversion into a local application, the software developer may choose to invoke the currency conversion service remotely. Other examples: credit check service, a data translation service, a car rental service linked to an airline reservation service.
  • Web services can also be complex applications. For example, a web service could be a data management and storage solution, a statistical analysis application, a KnowledgeBase service, a hosted order management application, and so on. 
  • The using application needs to know the name and location of the web service, so if someone wants to advertise that their web service is available, they can register it in a registry, such as UDDI.
  • WSDL can be used to describe services in a standard way.
  • Services running on one computer on the network can be invoked and executed using a standard protocol such as SOAP.
  • A web service usually has a "listener" of some kind that constantly checks for incoming requests written in XML, and upon detecting a request, the service is launched.
  • The user of the web service needs to weigh the risk of depending on an external source for execution of a process vs. coding that in to their own application, over which the user has control.
  • Another thing to consider before designing in a web service is performance, such as the impact of web services on demand for the services and demand for network bandwidth.

Web Service Definition Language (WSDL) - A language used as a standard for describing web services.  A WSDL document defines services as collections of network endpoints, or ports.

Web Services Flow Language (WSFL) - An XML language for description of web services compositions, e.g. set of WSDL services.

Wide Area Network - Communications network that connects geographically separated areas.

Workflow - A diagram or outline showing the set of activities (tasks) that comprise a business process, including sequence, controls, and participants (parties/roles).

Working Party 4 (WP.4) - UN/ECE/WP.4 is a Working Party on Facilitation of International Trade Procedures, a subsidiary body of UN/ECE. WP.4 includes national delegations appointed by governments and international organizations having consultation status with the UN, or invited by the UN Secretariat.

World Wide Web - A subset of the Internet.  It is a collection of inter-linked documents or files that work together using specific internet protocols such as HTTP, FTP, and gopher.