WSDL (Web Services Description Language)

What is WSDL (Web Services Description Language)?

WSDL, or Web Services Description Language, is an XML-based language used to describe the functionality offered by a web service. Web services use this language to specify their operations, messages, bindings, and location of the network service. WSDL is the cornerstone of the web services stack as it provides a standardized method for describing, discovering, and integrating web services.

Main Components of WSDL

Understanding the main components of WSDL can help you better utilize this language in your web services. Here are the most important components:

  • Types: This describes the data types that are exchanged by the web service. WSDL uses XML Schema syntax to define the data types.
  • Message: It represents an abstract definition of the data being transmitted. A message consists of logical parts, each of which is associated with a definition within some type system.
  • Operation: This describes an action supported by the service. Each operation refers to an input message and output message.
  • Port Type: It’s an abstract set of operations supported by one or more endpoints.
  • Binding: This specifies the protocol and data format for a particular port type.
  • Service: It’s a collection of related endpoints. It combines a binding with a network address, providing all the information necessary to communicate with an endpoint.

How Does WSDL Work?

WSDL works by describing the public interface to the web service. It provides a model and an XML format for describing simple network services as collections of communication endpoints capable of exchanging messages. WSDL’s main job is to offer a method for services to describe themselves to clients, and then to enable clients to access services in a standardized manner.

Advantages of Using WSDL

  • Language-Neutral: WSDL is not tied to any programming language, making it adaptable across various platforms.
  • Standardized: It provides a standardized method for describing, discovering, and integrating web services.
  • Self-Contained: WSDL documents are self-contained, meaning all information needed to interact with a web service is found in its WSDL file.


In conclusion, WSDL is an integral part of web services. It provides a standardized, language-neutral way of describing services, making the integration of various services easier. Understanding WSDL and how to use it is crucial for any website designer, developer, or administrator.

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