Last month I introduced the XML components of Web services: SOAP (simple object access protocol), WSDL (Web services description language) and UDDI (universal description, discovery and integration). This column provides two examples that illustrate how Web services can be used within and between enterprises.

The first example uses Web services within an enterprise. The problems that we discussed in previous months arising from redundant data ­ with redundant data entry to make required changes to each redundant database ­ resulted in redundant work, staffing and often training for the different data entry procedures for each database. Manual procedures were used to make the required changes. These procedures were slow, error-prone and expensive. Additionally, other problems were encountered until all changes were made because the different versions of the data were not synchronized.

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