If you have made a restaurant or hotel reservation online and have seen a map (GoogleMaps, MapQuest, etc.) embedded in a Web page, chances are the map was generated through a Web service. If you have entered credit card information to make an online purchase, chances are the authorization of your credit card was made through a Web service.

Unlike Web sites and Web applications, Web services are not designed to be accessed by individual users. Instead, Web services are functional components that are used “under the hood” by Web sites and Web applications.

Other examples of successful Web services include Amazon Web Services, Google Web APIs (application service interfaces) and United States Postal Service Web Tools. Web sites, such as XMethods (www.xmethods.net), list publicly available Web services.

How does this involve the care of children? Why should pediatricians be familiar with the concept of Web services?


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