Web Services and Visual Studio
Web services are currently transforming the way we think of the Web and how we leverage it to build software. Prior to web services, the Web was mostly considered a delivery mechanism for user interfaces. Of course, that was a huge deal given that these user interfaces did not require deployment but instead worked inside a browser. Web services have a similar potential. At their core, they represent a method (or service) that executes on a server and then leverages the ubiquitous communication mechanism that is the Web. In addition, web services are not bound to any one environment or operating system, and they are built on open standards such as XML. As a result, web services provide new potential in terms of connecting disparate systems, enabling rich clients that work across the web, and rethinking architectures to focus on the set of services they might provide.
Visual Studio 2005 provides the tools to make web services easier for developers. Just like a good user interface designer that abstracts the need to work directly with HTML, Visual Studio enables developers to create web services without working directly with the XML, SOAP, and so on. The tool embraces web services and the standards on which they operate. It then simplifies the web services world and allows developers to write web methods the way they write other Visual Basic or C# methods.
In this chapter, we first cover the basics of a web service and discuss the standards on which they are based. We then walk through creating and consuming web services using Visual Studio. Finally, we look at some finer points on working with web services such as handling exceptions.
The web service topic is a big and growing one. After you complete this chapter, you should have a solid understanding of how to create and work with web services in Visual Studio. From there, you can use this foundation to begin exploring WSE 3.0, Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), BizTalk, and other web servicerelated topics.