What is a Web Service?

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Web Services uses Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) in order to expose the business functionality. SOAP defines a standardized format in XML, which can be exchanged between two entities over standard protocols such as HTTP. SOAP is platform independent so the consumer of a Web Service is therefore completely shielded from any implementation details about the platform exposing the Web Service. For the consumer it is simply a black box of send and receives XML over HTTP. So any web service hosted on windows can also be consumed by UNIX and LINUX platform.