US20110161465A1 - Method and System to Automatically Adapt Web Services from One Protocol/Idiom to Another Protocol/Idiom - Google Patents

Method and System to Automatically Adapt Web Services from One Protocol/Idiom to Another Protocol/Idiom Download PDF

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Publication number
US20110161465A1
US20110161465A1 US12750143 US75014310A US20110161465A1 US 20110161465 A1 US20110161465 A1 US 20110161465A1 US 12750143 US12750143 US 12750143 US 75014310 A US75014310 A US 75014310A US 20110161465 A1 US20110161465 A1 US 20110161465A1
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web
services
interface
soap
restful
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US12750143
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Vincent Joseph Kowalski
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BMC Software Inc
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BMC Software Inc
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    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L67/00Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications
    • H04L67/28Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications for the provision of proxy services, e.g. intermediate processing or storage in the network
    • H04L67/2823Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications for the provision of proxy services, e.g. intermediate processing or storage in the network for conversion or adaptation of application content or format
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L67/00Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications
    • H04L67/02Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications involving the use of web-based technology, e.g. hyper text transfer protocol [HTTP]
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L69/00Application independent communication protocol aspects or techniques in packet data networks
    • H04L69/08Protocols for interworking or protocol conversion

Abstract

Disclosed are embodiments of a method and system to convert an existing web services request from a first web services implementation type to a second web services implementation type. Example implementation types include SOAP-based and Representational State Transfer (RESTful). Conversion may be achieved through use of a generic web services adaptor. The generic web services adaptor can provide a plurality of interface types and convert requests to a request type supported by an existing web service provider endpoint. In some embodiments, requests not requiring a conversion may be forwarded directly to an existing web service provider endpoint.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    This disclosure is a continuation in part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/650,107 entitled “A Method and System to Automatically Adapt Web Services from one Protocol/Idiom to Another Protocol/Idiom” by Vincent Kowalski filed 30 Dec. 2009 and which is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.
  • BACKGROUND
  • [0002]
    This disclosure relates generally to the field of web services. More particularly, but not by way of limitation, this disclosure refers to a method of adapting web services based on different implementations (e.g., SOAP or RESTful) to an implementation style other than that for which a web service was originally provided.
  • [0003]
    In the web services world, Representational State Transfer (REST) is a design architecture that embraces a stateless client-server architecture in which the web services are viewed as resources and can be identified by their Universal Resource Locators (URLs). Web services clients that want to use these resources may access a particular representation by transferring application content using a small globally defined set of remote methods that describe the action to be performed on the resource.
  • [0004]
    SOAP used to be an acronym that stood for Simple Object Access Protocol. However over time the acronym was dropped and there is now no official meaning attributed to the name SOAP. As used herein, SOAP is built on top of eXtensible Markup Language (XML). SOAP is a protocol in which operations (similar to functions or subroutines in standard programming languages) are invoked. This invocation typically causes an implementation on a server (e.g., SOAP web services endpoint) to execute some code (e.g., business logic) and return a result. SOAP can be viewed as a “request-response” type of model.
  • [0005]
    Today web services are not standardized such that they may interact with requests from a plurality of protocols or design architectures. For example, SOAP represents one type of web service prevalent today and RESTful represents a different type of web service. It is also clear that both SOAP and REST based web services are going to coexist in the world for the foreseeable future. Given this existing lack of standardization, existing web services may be exposed only for web applications interacting in a different manner than may be desired by a web developer.
  • [0006]
    To overcome these and other limitations it is desirable to provide a generic web services server (e.g., man in the middle adaptor) to allow more flexibility to web application programmers.
  • SUMMARY
  • [0007]
    Disclosed are methods and systems to allow a web application requesting information based on a particular type of web services interface (e.g., SOAP or RESTful) to have that request adapted/converted into another type of web services request and sent to a corresponding already exposed interface. For example, a web application desiring to communicate with an existing SOAP web service via a RESTful interface could have its request converted automatically from RESTful to SOAP and delivered to the existing SOAP interface. This adaption or conversion may also be applied for an existing SOAP web services interface such that a SOAP client may communicate, indirectly, with an exposed RESTful interface. Thus, existing web services may be more easily consumed without having to (re)design and expose an interface for each type desired by client web applications. Also, responses from the exiting web service may be converted back to the paradigm expected by the web application client before being returned.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0008]
    FIG. 1 shows, in block diagram form, an exemplary client communicatively coupled to a web application server, a generic web services adaptor, and a web service provided by an endpoint.
  • [0009]
    FIGS. 2A-B show an example web services request/response for a RESTful web service and SOAP-based web service.
  • [0010]
    FIG. 3 shows, in flowchart form, an embodiment of converting a SOAP web service request into a RESTful web service request.
  • [0011]
    FIG. 4 shows, in flowchart form, an embodiment of converting a RESTful web service request into a SOAP web service request.
  • [0012]
    FIG. 5 shows, in block diagram form, a simplified computer network comprising a generic adaptor architecture configured to perform conversion of web services requests from one interface type to another.
  • [0013]
    FIG. 6 shows, in block diagram form, an embodiment of a computer network comprising a generic adaptor which in turn comprises a plurality of adaptors for converting web services requests from one interface type to another
  • [0014]
    FIG. 7 shows, in block diagram form, an exemplary computing device comprising a program control device.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0015]
    Methods and systems to automatically convert from one web services implementation type to another web services implementation type are disclosed. In order for a client and a server to properly work together there must be a consistent interface between the two. That is not to say that both applications executing in one or more computers must have the same interface type for communication. However, if a client and a server are not communicating via the same interface, an adaption interface must be provided. In particular, if a client computer is configured to send/receive a particular interface type (e.g., SOAP/REST) and a server computer is configured to answer requests from a different interface type, then some adaption or conversion must be performed before the client can properly communicate with the server. Disclosed is a method and system to expose and convert an existing web service, provided by an endpoint, to a different interface type and make the new interface available from a computer executing a generic web services adaptor.
  • [0016]
    Disclosed are embodiments of a generic adaptor for web services. As discussed above, prior art implementations require a developer of a web application to code the web application for a specific type of exposed web services interface. By implementing a generic web services adaptor, web application developers and others may code an application to any implementation supported by the generic adaptor without regard to the actual implementation of the existing exposed interface of a web service.
  • [0017]
    As a result of the ability to perform conversion, the adaptor may provide a plurality of interfaces for clients (e.g., web applications) configured to send/receive in either the original interface or the newly supplied and exposed interface of a different type. The embodiments disclosed herein are confined to SOAP and REST web services. However, those of ordinary skill in the art will recognize that the concepts disclosed herein may also be applicable to other web services interface implementation types (e.g., eXtensible Markup Language—Remote Procedure Call (XML-RPC), JavaScript Object Notation (JSON), Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), etc.).
  • [0018]
    Referring now to FIG. 1, a high level block diagram of an interconnected computer system 100 is shown. Client computer 110 represents a computer which executes a web browser and may connect (via a Universal Resource Locator (URL)) to web application server 130. In this example, web application server 130 is a consumer of web services provided by a web services provider (endpoint) 140. Communication between client computer 110, web application server 130, and endpoint 140 takes place across network 120. A request across network 120 for a web service from endpoint 140 will typically be an encapsulated “message.” The message may allow for sending/receiving one or more pieces of information. This encapsulation may be accomplished in many ways, including a SOAP style request or a RESTful style request, among others. In other words, typical requests across a network are bundles of information such that multiple interactions (for a discrete piece of information) between a web application executing on web application server 130 and endpoint 140 may be minimized.
  • [0019]
    Network 120 represents a communication coupling between computers (e.g., 110, 130, 135 and 140). Network 120 may be either wired or wireless or a combination thereof. Examples of network 120 include, but are not limited to, a LAN, WAN, Internet, Intranet and the like. Note the segregation of functions described is logical and not physical. Therefore, it is possible for any combination of a client application, a web application, a generic web services adaptor, and a web services provider (endpoint) to coexist on the same physical computer without actually sending data across a network such as network 120. Further, the designation of client versus server may exist between many levels of this logical segregation. Therefore, client generally refers to a requesting application/computer and server generally refers to an application/computer servicing the request. Also, a client application and corresponding server application may actually execute on the same or different physical computers.
  • [0020]
    If web application server 130 desires a SOAP interface to a web service on endpoint 140 and endpoint 140 already has an exposed SOAP interface, then server 130 can communicate directly with endpoint 140. However, if web application server 130 desires a RESTful interface to this same exposed SOAP interface then, as explained above, it cannot communicate directly. In one disclosed embodiment, this situation may be overcome by having web application server send its RESTful request to generic web services adaptor server 135. Generic web service adaptor 135 can then translate or adapt the request from a RESTful request to a SOAP style request and forward the request to the already exposed SOAP interface on endpoint 140. After processing the SOAP style request, endpoint 140 will respond to server 135 and server 135 may translate the response to a format expected by original requesting computer 130. In this embodiment, neither computer 130 nor endpoint computer 140 must be made aware of, or be concerned with, the type of interface they are servicing or consuming.
  • [0021]
    To aid in the understanding of this disclosure the following definitions are provided:
  • [0022]
    WSDL: Web Services Definition Language (WSDL) is, in general, an XML format for describing network services as a set of endpoints operating on messages containing either document-oriented or procedure-oriented information. The operations and messages are described abstractly, and then bound to a concrete network protocol and message format to define an endpoint. Related concrete endpoints are combined into abstract endpoints (services). WSDL is extensible to allow the description of endpoints and their messages regardless of what message formats or network protocols are used to communicate. WSDL is typically used to define and describe the interfaces of SOAP-based web services.
  • [0023]
    WADL: Web Application Description Language (WADL) is described in a specification promulgated by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). WADL is designed to provide a machine process-able description of such HTTP-based Web applications. An increasing number of Web-based enterprises (e.g., Google®, Yahoo®, Amazon®, and Flickr®) are developing HTTP-based applications that provide programmatic access to their internal data. (GOOGLE is a registered trademark of Google Inc., Mountain View Calif. YAHOO and FLICKR are registered trademarks of Yahoo! Inc., Sunnyvale Calif. AMAZON is a registered trademark of Amazon.com Inc., Seattle Wash.) Typically these applications are described using textual documentation that is sometimes supplemented with more formal specifications such as XML schema for XML-based data formats. WADL may be used to define and describe the interfaces of RESTful web services.
  • [0024]
    XML: eXtensible Markup Language is a set of rules for encoding documents electronically. It is defined in the XML 1.0 Specification produced by the W3C and several other related specifications; all are fee-free open standards. XML's design goals emphasize simplicity, generality, and usability over the Internet. It is a textual data format, with strong support via Unicode for the languages of the world. Although XML's design focuses on documents, it is widely used for the representation of arbitrary data structures, for example in web services. Each of the standards for WSDL, SOAP and WADL described herein are expressed in XML.
  • [0025]
    XSLT: eXtensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) Transformation is a declarative, XML-based language used for the transformation of XML documents into other XML documents. The original document is not changed; rather, a new document is created based on the content of an existing one. The new document may be serialized (output) by the processor in standard XML syntax or in another format, such as HTML or plain text. XSLT is often used to convert XML data into HTML or XHTML documents for display as a web page: the transformation may happen dynamically either on the client or on the server, or it may be done as part of the publishing process. XSLT is also used to translate XML messages between different XML schemas, or to make changes to documents within the scope of a single schema, for example by removing the parts of a message that are not needed.
  • [0026]
    Web Application: a web application (webapp) is an application that is typically accessed via a web browser over a network such as the Internet or an intranet. The term may also refer to a computer software application that is hosted in a browser-controlled environment (e.g., a Java applet) or coded in a browser-supported language (such as JavaScript) and reliant on a common web browser to render the application executable. Web Applications are usually segregated into logical layers called “tiers,” where every tier is assigned a role. For the examples of this disclosure, it is assumed a webapp is divided into a client side tier (presentation) communicating directly with a web browser and a server side tier, providing the functionality (business logic) of the application, communicating with web services. However, one of ordinary skill in the art will recognize that a webapp may be implemented as a many-tier architecture.
  • [0027]
    Referring now to FIGS. 2A-B, an example web service request/response for each of REST and SOAP are shown. This example web service operation would get the stock price for a particular stock symbol. As those of ordinary skill in the art will recognize, REST is actually the architecture underlying the Web. Therefore, when comparing REST with SOAP (which is really a protocol, not an architecture) we classify the RESTful web services based on different idioms. RESTful web services are invocations of functionality across the Web that comply with REST architecture. In contrast, SOAP invocations are done by communicating the function semantics and syntax (i.e., the operation and parameter names) with an endpoint. To make a REST request a user navigates to a resource. This navigation is usually accomplished by an HTTP operation, typically (although not exclusively) a GET. This is a significant distinction between REST and SOAP.
  • [0028]
    Returning now to FIG. 2A, a RESTful request is simply a URL as shown in element 210. The corresponding RESTful response in XML is shown in element 220. FIG. 2B shows the corresponding SOAP-based response and request. Element 250 shows the request is an XML based SOAP envelop and element 260 shows an example response that may be provided by a SOAP-based web service. Note the syntax and URLs used here are for illustration purposes only.
  • [0029]
    Explained next are sample embodiments of a conversion process. First, an example conversion of a SOAP interface to a RESTful interface is described. Second, an example of classifying a RESTful web service and converting the classified RESTful web service to a SOAP interface is described. Further details of this classification and conversion methodology can be found in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/650,107 entitled “A Method and System to Automatically Adapt Web Services from one Protocol/Idiom to Another Protocol/Idiom” by Vincent Kowalski.
  • [0030]
    Referring now to FIG. 3, an example process 300 for converting from a SOAP interface style to a RESTful interface style is shown. Process 300 begins at block 310, which depicts an existing SOAP interface and its corresponding WSDL description. WSDL is implemented in XML. Therefore, an XSLT transformation may be applied (block 320) to produce a WADL description of the interface (block 330). Utilizing the created WADL a new RESTful web services interface may be generated (block 340). Finally, the new RESTful web service interface may be made available (exposed) on a web server at block 350.
  • [0031]
    Referring now to FIG. 4, an example process 400 for converting from a RESTful interface tyle to a SOAP-based interface style is shown. Process 400 begins at block 410 with an existing RESTful Web Service. Classification of the exposed interface is performed at block 420. If the exposed interface is unclassifiable, the NO prong of 430, a hand-coded WADL may need to be created as represented by block 450. If the classification is possible, the YES prong of 430, then an auto-translated WADL may be created at block 440. In either case the WADL is processed by applying an XSLT transformation (block 460) to produce a WSDL description at block 470. Finally, at block 480, a SOAP-based Web Service interface may be made available on the web server.
  • [0032]
    Referring now to FIG. 5, sample architecture 500 comprises a web services endpoint 510 providing a web service for “stock quotes,” web services client 530 configured to make SOAP requests, web services client 520 configured to make RESTful requests and generic web services adaptor 540. In this example, Stock Quote Service Provider (Endpoint) 510 originally provided a SOAP interface and cannot service requests from RESTful clients such as client 520. Client 530 may make SOAP requests and receive SOAP responses via direct communication with endpoint 510 as shown by element 535. However, for the reasons discussed above, request/response messages 525 from client 520 require conversion before client 520 may take advantage of the Stock Quote Service from endpoint 510. Therefore, in this example, conversion is performed by generic web services adaptor 540 exposing a RESTful interface 560 and executing adaptor function 565. In this example, client 520 requests (525) a stock quote from RESTful interface 560. RESTful interface 560 (and generic web services adaptor) is not required to provide the business logic supporting a stock quote service. RESTful interface 560 receives the request and passes the request to adaptor function 565. After converting the request into a style acceptable by endpoint 510, the request is forwarded (570) to endpoint 510 where all business logic that implements the stock quote service may be performed. The business logic of endpoint 510 is executed as if the request originated from a SOAP based client. Upon completion of the business logic, endpoint 510 responds (570) with a SOAP response to generic web services adaptor 540. Conversion of this SOAP response may then be performed by adaptor 565 resulting in a RESTful response (525) as required and expected by original requesting client 520. In this manner, client 520 may utilize a web service provided by endpoint 510 without an update to either implementation because of generic web services adaptor 540.
  • [0033]
    Building upon the example of FIG. 5 and referring now to FIG. 6, sample architecture 600 comprises a plurality of endpoint web service providers 610 and 611, another embodiment of web services generic adaptor 640, and a plurality of web services clients such as 620 and 630. In this embodiment, generic web services adaptor 640 comprises a RESTful interface 660 and adaptor 662 configured to convert RESTful based requests into SOAP based requests. Generic web services adaptor 640 also comprises a SOAP interface 665 and adaptor 667 configured to convert SOAP based requests into RESTful based requests. RESTful requests arrive at generic web services adaptor computer as indicated by element 641 and SOAP requests arrive as indicated by element 651. Upon receipt, RESTful requests (641) for a particular web service can be passed (642) directly to web service endpoint 610 exposing a RESTful interface or requests can be converted by adaptor 662 into SOAP based requests and passed (643) to an endpoint 611 exposing a SOAP interface. Additionally, upon receipt of SOAP based requests (651) for a particular web service, requests can be passed (652) directly to web service endpoint 611 exposing a SOAP interface or requests can be converted by adaptor 667 into RESTful based requests and passed (653) to an endpoint 610 exposing a RESTful interface. Thus, in this embodiment all requests from clients are directed to generic web services adaptor 640 and web application developers may be provided with greater flexibility because they are not required to concern themselves with the actual type of web service interface exposed by a supported web service provider endpoint.
  • [0034]
    Note architecture 600 is shown with only two web services clients and two web service provider endpoints for simplicity. Any number of web services clients or endpoint service providers may be supported on any number of computers. Also, it is possible for a single computer to process activity associated with any combination of activities reflected in elements 610, 611, 620, 630 and 640. That is, a single computer can be concurrently configured to request web services via a SOAP interface and a RESTful web service (likely different web services provided by distinct service provider endpoints).
  • [0035]
    Based on the disclosed embodiments, generic web services adaptor may provide even further flexibility for web application developers. For example, generic web services adaptor may be configured to provide either complete or partial business logic for web service provider endpoints that have been decommissioned. Also, generic web services adaptor may be configured to redirect either full or partial requests for a web service to a web service provider other than that originally requested. This may be done to either support a request more efficiently or to satisfy the request in a manner other than sending it to the originally requested web service provider. Of course, security and data integrity may need to be taken into account for all disclosed embodiments. Methods of implementing certain security controls are known in the art and are not directly discussed here.
  • [0036]
    Referring now to FIG. 7, an exemplary computing device 700 is shown. One or more exemplary computing devices 700 may be included in a mainframe computer (not shown) or a standard distributed computer. Exemplary computing device 700 comprises a programmable control device 710 which may be optionally connected to input 760 (e.g., keyboard, mouse, touch screen, etc.), display 770 or program storage device (PSD) 780 (sometimes referred to as a direct access storage device DASD). Also, included with program device 710 is a network interface 740 for communication via a network with other computing and corporate infrastructure devices (not shown). Note network interface 740 may be included within programmable control device 710 or be external to programmable control device 710. In either case, programmable control device 710 will be communicatively coupled to network interface 740. Also note, program storage unit 780 represents any form of non-volatile storage including, but not limited to, all forms of optical and magnetic storage elements including solid-state storage.
  • [0037]
    Program control device 710 may be included in a computing device and be programmed to perform methods in accordance with this disclosure (e.g., those illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 3). Program control device 710 comprises a processor unit (PU) 720, input-output (I/O) interface 750 and memory 730. Processing unit 720 may include any programmable controller device including, for example, processors of an IBM mainframe (such as a quad-core z10 mainframe microprocessor). Alternatively, in non-mainframe systems examples of processing unit 720 include the Intel Core®, Pentium® and Celeron® processor families from Intel and the Cortex and ARM processor families from ARM. (INTEL CORE, PENTIUM and CELERON are registered trademarks of the Intel Corporation. CORTEX is a registered trademark of the ARM Limited Corporation. ARM is a registered trademark of the ARM Limited Company.) Memory 730 may include one or more memory modules and comprise random access memory (RAM), read only memory (ROM), programmable read only memory (PROM), programmable read-write memory, and solid state memory. One of ordinary skill in the art will also recognize that PU 720 may also include some internal memory including, for example, cache memory.
  • [0038]
    Aspects of the embodiments are described as a method of control or manipulation of data, and may be implemented in one or a combination of hardware, firmware, and software. Embodiments may also be implemented as instructions stored on a machine-readable medium, which may be read and executed by at least one processor to perform the operations described herein. A machine-readable medium may include any mechanism for tangibly embodying information in a form readable by a machine (e.g., a computer). For example, a machine-readable medium (sometimes referred to as a program storage device or a computer readable medium) may include read-only memory (ROM), random-access memory (RAM), magnetic disc storage media, optical storage media, flash-memory devices, electrical, optical, and others.
  • [0039]
    In the above detailed description, various features are occasionally grouped together in a single embodiment for the purpose of streamlining the disclosure. This method of disclosure is not to be interpreted as reflecting an intention that the claimed embodiments of the subject matter require more features than are expressly recited in each claim.
  • [0040]
    Various changes in the details of the illustrated operational methods are possible without departing from the scope of the following claims. For instance, illustrative flow chart steps or process steps of FIGS. 3 and 4 may be performed in an order different from that disclosed here. Alternatively, some embodiments may combine the activities described herein as being separate steps or combine the logical systems described herein as being separate computers into one physical computer. Similarly, one or more of the described steps may be omitted, depending upon the specific operational environment the method is being implemented in. In addition, acts in accordance with FIGS. 3 and 4 may be performed by a programmable control device executing instructions organized into one or more program modules. A programmable control device may be a single computer processor, a special purpose processor (e.g., a digital signal processor, “DSP”), a plurality of processors coupled by a communications link or a custom designed state machine. Custom designed state machines may be embodied in a hardware device such as an integrated circuit including, but not limited to, application specific integrated circuits (“ASICs”) or field programmable gate array (“FPGAs”). Storage devices, sometimes called computer readable medium, suitable for tangibly embodying program instructions include, but are not limited to: magnetic disks (fixed, floppy, and removable) and tape; optical media such as CD-ROMs and digital video disks (“DVDs”); and semiconductor memory devices such as Electrically Programmable Read-Only Memory (“EPROM”), Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory (“EEPROM”), Programmable Gate Arrays and flash devices.
  • [0041]
    It is to be understood that the above description is intended to be illustrative, and not restrictive. For example, the above-described embodiments may be used in combination with each other. Many other embodiments will be apparent to those of skill in the art upon reviewing the above description. The scope of the invention should, therefore, be determined with reference to the appended claims, along with the full scope of equivalents to which such claims are entitled. In the appended claims, the terms “including” and “in which” are used as the plain-English equivalents of the respective terms “comprising” and “wherein.”

Claims (23)

  1. 1. A method of processing a web services request on a programmable control device, the method comprising:
    receiving a web services request targeted for a first web services interface type;
    translating the web services request, on the programmable control device, to a second web services interface type;
    sending the translated web services request to a web services endpoint;
    receiving a response from the web services endpoint;
    translating the response to be compliant with the first web services interface type; and
    responding to the received web services request.
  2. 2. The method of claim 1, wherein the web services endpoint functionality and the steps of translation are provided by a single computer system.
  3. 3. The method of claim 1, wherein the first web services interface type is SOAP and the second web services interface type is RESTful.
  4. 4. The method of claim 1, wherein the first web services interface type is RESTful and the second web service interface type is SOAP.
  5. 5. The method of claim 2 wherein the RESTful web services request is classified as part of the act of translating the web services request.
  6. 6. The method of claim 1, wherein the first web services interface type is selected from the group consisting of XML-RPC, JSON, HTTP, RESTful, and SOAP and the second web service interface type is selected from the group consisting of XML-RPC, JSON, HTTP, RESTful, and SOAP.
  7. 7. A method of processing a web services request on a programmable control device, the method comprising:
    receiving, on a programmable control device, a web services request from a web services client in a first web services format and an indication of a web services endpoint;
    identifying the web services endpoint using the indication;
    determining an interface type of an exposed web service interface on the web services endpoint;
    translating the received web services request to be compliant with the determined interface type if the determined interface type is not already compliant with the first web services format;
    sending a compliant web services request to the web services endpoint;
    receiving a response from the web services endpoint;
    translating the response to be compliant with the first web services format if the response is not already compliant with the first web services format; and
    sending a response, compliant with the first web services format, to the web services client.
  8. 8. The method of claim 7, wherein the functionality of the identified web services endpoint and the steps of translation are provided by a single computer.
  9. 9. The method of claim 7, wherein the first web services format is SOAP and the determined interface type is RESTful.
  10. 10. The method of claim 7, wherein the first web services format is RESTful and the determined interface type is SOAP.
  11. 11. The method of claim 10 wherein the RESTful web services request is classified as part of the act of translating the received web services request.
  12. 12. The method of claim 7, wherein the first web services format is selected from the group consisting of XML-RPC, JSON, HTTP, RESTful, and SOAP and the determined interface type is selected from the group consisting of XML-RPC, JSON, HTTP, RESTful, and SOAP.
  13. 13. A computer readable medium comprising computer readable instructions stored thereon to cause a programmable control device to perform the method of claim 1.
  14. 14. A computer readable medium comprising computer readable instructions stored thereon to cause a programmable control device to perform the method of claim 7.
  15. 15. A computer system comprising one or more programmable control devices communicatively coupled to each other and to a computer network, wherein the one or more programmable control devices are programmed to:
    receive a web services request, from the computer network, targeted for a first web services interface type;
    translate the web services request, on the one or more programmable control devices, to a second web services interface type;
    send the translated web services request to a web services endpoint;
    receive a response from the web services endpoint;
    translate the response to be compliant with the first web services interface type; and
    respond to the received web services request.
  16. 16. The computer system of claim 15, wherein the first web services interface type is SOAP and the second web services interface type is RESTful.
  17. 17. The computer system of claim 15, wherein the first web services interface type is RESTful and the second web service interface type is SOAP.
  18. 18. The computer system of claim 15 wherein the one or more programmable control devices is further programmed to perform the programmed acts of receiving and sending to and from a plurality of web services endpoints and web services clients concurrently and wherein the programmed act of translating a plurality of different web services interface types is also performed concurrently.
  19. 19. A computer system comprising one or more programmable control devices communicatively coupled to each other and to a computer network, wherein the one or more programmable control devices are programmed to:
    receive, on one of the one or more programmable control devices via the computer network, a web services request from a web services client in a first web services format and an indication of a web services endpoint;
    identify the web services endpoint using the indication;
    determine an interface type of an exposed web service interface on the web services endpoint;
    translate the received web services request to be compliant with the determined interface type if the determined interface type is not already compliant with the first web services format;
    send a compliant web services request to the web services endpoint;
    receive a response from the web services endpoint;
    translate the response to be compliant with the first web services format if the response is not already compliant with the first web services format; and
    send a response, compliant with the first web services format, to the web services client.
  20. 20. The computer system of claim 19, wherein the first web services format is SOAP and the determined interface type is RESTful.
  21. 21. The computer system of claim 19, wherein the first web services format is RESTful and the determined interface type is SOAP.
  22. 22. A computer network comprising:
    a plurality of processing units communicatively coupled to a computer network;
    a first processing unit configured to perform at least a portion of the method of claim 1 wherein the entire method of claim 1 is performed collectively by the plurality of processing units.
  23. 23. A computer network comprising:
    a plurality of processing units communicatively coupled to a computer network;
    a first processing unit configured to perform at least a portion of the method of claim 7 wherein the entire method of claim 7 is performed collectively by the plurality of processing units.
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