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Because Web services will probably have varied effect on different industries, it is helpful to read or hear case stories from peers. This will enable you to develop a sense for how Web services are applied and perhaps learn some of the caveats and gotchas. In the end though, you must acquire an intuitive feel for what Web services are and how they can be applied. That is usually the result of trying it for yourself.

A year or so ago it might have been advisable to use some of the kits that were just appearing (e.g., the Microsoft SOAP Kit), but we think that's no longer appropriate. Full-scale Web services tools have been released in many different forms, and organizations should experiment with tools that reflect its normal choice of languages and development environments. For example, an IBM shop ought to be working with IBM WebSphere Studio and the Web Services Extensions. Likewise, Microsoft shops should be working with the relevant portions of Visual Studio .Net.

Keep in mind that it might be difficult for one person to master all of the necessary elements of Web services -- SOAP, WSDL, and especially XML can require ascending a major learning curve.

This article was originally published on Mar 28, 2002

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