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What are Web Services Contracts?

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  • Written By: Troy Holmes
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 30 November 2016
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Software development contracts come in many varieties, ranging from basic hardware and software licensing contracts to more complex development service contracts. Web services contracts are software development contracts that require small-interval components. These contracts typically are shorter in duration than a standard contract and focus on specific modular functions for the business.

The primary difference between web services contracts and standard software development contracts is the scope of work to be performed. A standard software services contract typically includes user screens, computer hardware, software licenses, and database development. This large procurement requires significant infrastructure and personnel resources, which is unnecessary for the smaller modular based web services contract.

Web services contracts require agile development teams that specialize in iterative development techniques. These teams must be small enough to implement software changes in a rapid manner that meets the high demands of services development. The software team is similar to a special operations group with a small, clearly defined objective. This schedule is typically more aggressive than a standard software contract with many modules expected throughout the year.

Most web services contracts require technical expertise in the areas of computer programming and data modeling. This requires technical expertise with the extensible markup language (XML) concepts and techniques. These restrictions are necessary to ensure the contractor has the technical expertise required to do the job. The contractor is also expected to deliver modular software components, which requires a good grasp on iterative software development techniques.

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Web services contracts include special requirements for security controls and procedures. Data security is one of the most important aspects of web service development because sensitive data is typically shared through XML files. These security controls include encryption, authentication, and authorization processes that ensure data is protected during network transmissions.

Web services contracts require a good understanding of the current standards that govern web services development. These standards include the areas of security, data validation, message transformation, and data rendering. The current standards are governed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) group, which is made up from a social network of experts within the web services development community.

Most web service development is completed with either Java® or Microsoft .Net® software technology. Use of these software-programming languages is typically a prerequisite for a web services contract. Most companies use one of these languages and typically stipulate the use of the programming language within the contract.

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