The WSDL or as its acronym stands for, Web Services Description Language, is an XML development language allowing a developer to describe certain web services that are being used and provided. While version 1.1 was never endorsed by the W3C, the latest release of WSDL 2.0 is specified. Version 2.0 was originally known as 1.2 but due to the high amount of changes between 1.2 and 1.1, it was later determined that it should be reissued as 2.0 instead.
WSDL can be bound to all of the HTTP requests and is not limited to simply POST or GET which has made it especially helpful when developing using the RESTful web services. Furthermore, use of WSDL is very simple to use and there is a lot of support currently available for it. On the downside though, most of the web services only offer development support kits for the previous WSDL 1.1 irregardless of the fact that it was never endorsed by the World Wide Web Consortium.
In the use of WSDL, the developer will define the web services being used as an endpoint of the network or even as a port. These definitions are developed in the XML format for cross-compatibility. Furthermore, since abstract and concrete definitions are used separately, this means that a particular definition can actually be reused later on in the file. In all simplicity, WSDL is used for the description of the web service in question to the public interface which allows for more accessibly designed websites.
Furthermore, it is not uncommon to find WSDL being used in conjunction with that of SOAP so that a client is actually able to read and determine which web services are actually available on a particular server. This can include standard services as well as special data types and custom set-ups; then if the client so wishes to, it can actually call that particular service using the SOAP protocol.
Original Authors: Nick
Edit Update Authors: M.A.Harris
Updated On: 04/03/2009