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WSDL - Web Services Definition Language

By: Diane Shired, CTM

Meaning of WSDL - "Web Services Definition Language”, is a XML format of operating messages that describes web services or work performed by a server. These operating messages can contain document or procedure oriented information. WSDL describe web services such as Interfaces and ports, what a service can do, where it resides and how to invoke it using machine terms targeted for communications between web applications.

    The following are definition of network services:
  • Message– an abstract, typed definition of the data being communicated.
  • Operation– an abstract description of an action supported by the service.
  • Types– a container for data type definitions using some type system (such as XSD - XML Schema Definition).
  • Service– a collection of related endpoints
  • Port Type–an abstract set of operations supported by one or more endpoints.
  • Port– a single endpoint defined as a combination of a binding and a network address.
  • Binding– a concrete protocol and data format specification for a particular port type.
WSDL is used with SOAP over HTTP extensible to allow endpoint descriptions and their messages regardless of the message format or network protocol. WSDL can be used in combination with SOAP, HTTP and MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension) for remote process. WSDL extensibility has a common binding that may be use to produce port binding extensions for other protocols. Port binding is configuration information that determines where and how a message will be sent or received. Port binding may also refer to a physical location.

Other Related Definitions:

"WSDL message exchange patterns define the sequence and cardinality of abstract messages listed in an operation. Message exchange patterns also define which other nodes send messages to, and receive messages from, the service implementing the operation. WSDL patterns are described in terms of the WSDL component model, specifically the Label and Fault Reference components." Web Services Description Language (WSDL) Version 2.0 Part 1: Core Language "describes the Web Services Description Language (WSDL) Version 2.0, an XML language for describing Web services. It defines the core language which can be used to describe Web services based on an abstract model of what the service offers. It also defines criteria for a conformant processor of this language." [W3C Web Services Description Working Group - March 29, 2004]

"The Web Services Description Language (WSDL) specification was created to describe and publish the formats and protocols of a Web service in a standard way. Web service interface standards are needed to ensure that you don't have to create special interactions with each server on the Web, as you would today, using the extended URL approach from a browser.

WSDL elements contain a description of the data, typically using one or more XML schemas, to be passed to the Web service so that both the sender and the receiver understand the data being exchanged. The WSDL elements also contain a description of the operations to be performed on that data, so that the receiver of a message knows how to process it, and a binding to a protocol or transport, so that the sender knows how to send it. Typically, WSDL is used with SOAP, and the WSDL specification includes a SOAP binding.

WSDL was developed by Microsoft, Ariba, and IBM, and v1.1 of the specification was submitted to the W3C, which accepted WSDL as a note and published it on the W3C Web site.1 Twenty-two other companies joined the submission, comprising at that time the largest number of W3C members ever to support a joint submission. WSDL therefore already enjoys broad-based support, and many companies offer implementations of WSDL in their Web services products. In fact, with such near unanimity within the vendor community, it could be said that the WSDL specification provides the de facto definition of a Web service description. However, it is very likely that a W3C working group will nonetheless make significant improvements and changes. " [ - By Eric Newcomer ]

"The Web services protocols, Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) and Web Services Definition Language (WSDL) provide the capabilities and messaging facilities required to bind and execute programmatic functionality anywhere, on any platform, without the need for custom code. The significance of the Web services specifications is that they provide a workable architecture for building complex, interoperable computing processes over the Internet.

Web Services Definition Language (WSDL) is a specification for describing, communicating and invoking programmatic functionality through a message exchange or remote procedure call. A WSDL document resides at a URL location and is linked to the actual program module located elsewhere." [Enrico's .NET Corner - July 20, 2005, by Antonacci ]

Related Links:

Network Computing Security Pipeline - WS-Security Spec Nearing Completion
VAR Business - Getting Web Services Off The Ground
WSDL: - Web Services Definition Language
W3C - Web Services Description Language (WSDL) 1.1

Technical Resources:

RFid Gazette - RFID Middleware
ALTOVA - WSDL Editor and Documentation Generator/font>
Web Services Architect - UDDI Based Electronic Marketplaces
MSDN - Web Services Description Language (WSDL) Explained

Products and Solutions:

A PHP Web Services Client
Bertram Group
New to SOA and Web service
O'Reilly XML.Com
Web Services articles and products
Web Services Remain Under Construction

Blogs, News, Feeds, Discussion Lists:

Long Distance Guide
Inhabitant Of A Geek Land
Web Services: Enumeration and Profiling
SOA—Underlying Technologies
IT Papers


.NET Web Services Solutions by Kris Jamsa
Developing Java Web Services: Architecting and Developing Secure Web Services Using Java by Ramesh Nagappan, Robert Skoczylas, Rima Patel Sriganesh
Building Web Applications with ADO.NET and XML Web Services by Richard Hundhausen, Steven Borg, Cole Francis, Kenneth Wilcox,
WebSphere Application Server Bible by Bryon Kataoka, Dave Ramirez, Alan Sit

See Also:

WSDL Resources


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