In recent years, Web services have gained popularity in terms of applications and usage. A copious volume of literature has been published that describes the potential benefits of this technology (Chu, You, & Teng, 2004; Gehlen & Pham 2005; Pasthan, 2005; Yoshikawa, Ohta, Nakagawa, & Kurakake, 2003). The business community has slowly started to realize how this technology can be used to solve various business problems (Tilley, Gerdes, Hamilton, Huang, Muller, Smith, & Wong, 2004). The idea of a Web service stems from the fact that different applications developed in heterogeneous technology platforms can be seamlessly integrated together via some common standard protocols over World Wide Web (Chu, et al., 2004; Pasthan, 2005). This will facilitate reusable software component development, enterprise application integration (EAI), and distributed application development. A new emerging area that is currently under development is mobile Web services, which will be quite useful in terms of capability and applications. There are numerous business benefits in using these mobile services, but these new technological developments pose various challenges. In this article, we discuss emerging mobile commerce applications and then present an open mobile Web services framework that will support various mobile commerce applications.
Web Services And Service-Oriented Architecture
What are Web Services?
The W3C defines Web services as follows: “A Web service is a software system identified by a URL, whose public interfaces and bindings are described using XML. Its definition can be discovered by other software systems. These systems may then interact with the Web service in a manner prescribed by its definition, using XML based messages conveyed by Internet protocols” (W3C, 2006).
At a conceptual level, Web services consist of a service provider, a service requestor, and a service registry, as shown in Figure 1. The service requestors and providers communicate with each other by exchanging messages using open standards and protocols. Another important feature is that the requestors and providers form loosely coupled systems, meaning that the development of each of the systems is done in a truly distributed manner. They are developed, implemented, and maintained independent of each other.