Get With the Standards Page 3
Standards are the heart of Web services; without them the over-arching goal of interoperability would be impossible. The primary standards involved are: XML (eXtensible Markup Language) to handle the data, UDDI (Universal Description Discovery and Integration) to register services on Internet servers, SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) to formalize how a service may be used, and WSDL (Web Services Description Language) to provide the scripting necessary to run the service.
Together these standards provide a common approach to building, distributing, and using Web services. Since all of the major software companies have signed on to these standards, we think Web services may accomplish things that haven't been possible before in business-to-business and business-to-consumer applications.
Consequently, a good way to prepare for Web services is to get up to speed on the standards and keep an eye on them. It's important to know how much the standards change as part of the ongoing work of standards bodies, such as the W3C, and how much individual vendors change (e.g., warp, pervert, suborn, embrace, and extend) the standards to fit their own agendas. This latter aspect is, unfortunately, already threatening to take place especially between the major vendors such as Sun, Microsoft, Oracle, and IBM.