Difference between Flow Service and a webService

Hi All,

Can anyone explain me the difference between a Flow Service and a webService?


Flow services are webMethods-specific, and designed to execute discrete functions within webMethods Integration Server.
Web services are based on the web services standards (WSDL/SOAP) and are designed to execute functions on ANY server, regardless as to the operating system, etc. This interoperability is the promise of web services.

For webMethods, a flow service can also be a web service. This means the web service standards can be used with flow services (and java services.)

Here’s an example that may illustrate some differences for using flow vs web service:

I have a partner, ACME. They periodically hit my Integration Server to request prices on my product.
If I use only flow, I would have to tell them the following:

  • what protocol to use
  • what port to connect to
  • what service to call
  • what inputs to provide (and their format)
  • what outputs to expect
    If I expose the flow service as a web service, I only have to provide my partner with a WSDL file (which the webM Developer generates for me.) That file follows the WSDL web service standard and can be used by any other server (IBM, BEA, TIBCO, etc.) to connect to me using SOAP.

Web services do pretty much what we are used to: XML over HTTP or HTTPS. However, they do it in a standards-based way, making it easy to produce and consume services across a variety of platforms.

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Thanks Phil,

That was very informative !


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