This book, of course, is structured to be read sequentially from chapter to chapter, page by page. If read in such a conventional manner, the issues, options, technologies, and solutions will be presented in a systematic, step-by-step manner, replete with detailed figures. It could, however, also be used in reference-guide mode, where the reader pursues a particular technology or theme ”for example, the role of Web services vis--vis corporate portals. If you intend to use this book in this reference-guide mode, please use the index or the table of contents as the optimum means of locating the topics being sought. Starting with the Q&As at the end of each chapter is also a possibility, since they provide a quick snapshot of what is covered in that chapter.
Following the post-Y2K economic downturn, which was then exacerbated by the dot.com implosion and 9/11, these continue to be challenging times for the software industry. Web services will play a pivotal role in pulling this industry out of its slump. Web services can thus be thought of as a powerful empowering technology. Knowing what Web services are all about will in turn empower you.
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