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The Web Services standard is becoming the lingua franca for loosely coupled distributed applications. As the number of nodes and the complexity of these applications grow over the coming years, it will become more challenging for developers to understand, debug, and optimize them. In this paper, we describe Web Services Navigator, a visualization tool that fosters better understanding of service-oriented architecture (SOA) applications. We draw on our experience with real SOA applications to show how this tool has been applied to practical problems ranging from business logic misunderstandings to performance bottlenecks to syntax and semantic errors. Web Services Navigator helps to solve these problems by visualizing how applications really execute, enabling business owners, application designers, project managers, programmers, and operations staff to understand how their applications actually behave. We sketch the architecture of Web Services Navigator, outline how it reconstructs application execution from event logs, and describe how users interactively explore their applications using its five linked views.
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