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1.1. History

Web services didn't spring full-formed from the collective forehead of Microsoft, IBM, and Sun. Systems such as SOAP, XML-RPC, and WSDL are merely the latest iteration in a long series of distributed computing initiatives. Ever since there were two computers, people have been trying to make them work together.

The web services we have today trace their ancestry back to the Sun Remote Procedure Call (RPC) system. This provided a standard way for a client to interact with a server, using the model of a procedure call. A server might offer many services (procedures, identified by name), and a client would tell the server which service to use and what values to pass it (parameters). The server would send back a value (the return value) from the service.


  

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