Anatomy of a Web Service Contract

Prentice Hall –

For Web services to succeed as part of SOA, they require balanced, effective technical contracts that enable services to be evolved and repeatedly reused for years to come. Now, a team of industry experts presents the first end-to-end guide to designing and governing Web service contracts.


This is an excerpt of Chapter 4 from Web Service Contract Design & Versioning for SOA by Thomas Erl, Anish Karmarkar, Priscilla Walmsley, Hugo Haas, L. Umit Yalcinalp, Kevin Liu, David Orchard, Andre Tost, James Pasley, published by Prentice Hall, as part of The Prentice Hall Service-Oriented Computing Series from Thomas Erl, Copyright 2009 SOA Systems Inc. ISBN 013613517X For more info, please visit:

Table of contents

Web service contracts can range in content, depth, and complexity. To fully appreciate the intricacies and design options of how Web service contracts can be structured, we first need to decompose this structure in order to understand its individual parts and the mechanics that make these parts work together.

The purpose of this chapter is to explain the Web service contract from a conceptual and structural perspective without yet getting into the details of how the contract is actually developed through markup code.

We start exploring contract structure by breaking the contract down into a set of primary parts. This allows us to describe what these parts are, what technologies can be used to create them, and how they can relate to each other. Subsequent chapters will then drill down into each of the mentioned parts and technologies.

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