In reality, the basic premise behind Web services is fairly simple. They’re meant to be an easy way to build networked applications from modular, distributed components. You take a library of code, put it on the network somewhere and give other software the tools to access that code as if it were running on the local machine, and — voila! — a Web service (more or less). The “Web” part is even something of a misnomer. It stuck because these services are often accessed using HTTP, the Web-server protocol.