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Web services have recently emerged as a powerful technology for integrating heterogeneous applications over the Internet. The widespread adoption of Web services promises to usher in an exciting new generation of advanced distributed applications. These will support a new and growing set of specifications, such as Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), Web Services Description Language (WSDL), and Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI). Extensible Markup Language (XML) and its associated family of standards also play a central role in Web services by providing a data interchange format that is independent of both programming languages and operating systems. The application developer seeking to reap the benefits of Web services is therefore faced with a significant, and potentially steep, new learning curve. Clearly, application development tools that lower this barrier are crucial for the rapid and widespread adoption of Web services. This paper discusses the development tasks associated with XML Web services and describes a new suite of tools that improve developer productivity, by reducing the requirements for detailed knowledge of the underlying specifications and standards, and allow the developer to focus on the business problem domain. This suite of XML and Web services tools is part of IBM's recently released WebSphere® Studio Application Developer product, which is based on the new Eclipse open source tool integration platform.
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