A paradigm shift is taking place in computer science: one generation ago, we learned to abstract from hardware to software, now we are abstracting from software to serviceware implemented through service-oriented computing. Yet ensuring interoperability in open, heterogeneous, and dynamically changing environments, such as the Internet, remains a major challenge for actual machine-to-machine integration. Usually significant problems in aligning data, processes, and protocols appear as soon as a specific piece of functionality is used within a different application context.
The Semantic Web Services (SWS) approach is about describing services with metadata on the basis of domain ontologies as a means to enable their automatic location, execution, combination, and use. Fensel and his coauthors provide a comprehensive overview of SWS in line with actual industrial practice. They introduce the main sociotechnological components that ground the SWS vision (like Web Science, Service Science, and service-oriented architectures) and several approaches that realize it, e.g. the Web Service Modeling Framework, OWL-S, and RESTful services. The real-world relevance is emphasized through a series of case studies from large-scale R&D projects and a business-oriented proposition from the SWS technology provider Seekda.
Each chapter of the book is structured according to a predefined template, covering both theoretical and practical aspects, and including walk-through examples and hands-on exercises. Additional learning material is available on the book website www.swsbook.org. With its additional features, the book is ideally suited as the basis for courses or self-study in this field, and it may also serve as a reference for researchers looking for a state-of-the-art overview of formalisms, methods, tools, and applications related to SWS.