This month's column was contributed by Scott Morrison, vice president of Engineering and chief architect at Layer 7 Technologies.

By providing a flexible, platform-neutral way for rendering diverse data types, XML has become a standard for exchanging information across heterogeneous applications. Web services, a set of XML based protocols for finding and communicating between loosely-coupled, internet callable application "services" have therefore become the preferred mechanism for integrating heterogeneous applications and enabling service- oriented architectures (SOAs).

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