Web services have the potential to change the way we compute. Imagine an Internet featuring millions of TerraServices, each exposing different content and business logic to interested callers. The applications that you write would enjoy access to a rich assortment of data and services unparalleled in the industry today. And writing those applications would require little or no knowledge of the underlying communications protocols, thanks to the .NET Framework, which hides HTTP, XML, and SOAP under the hood and allows you to focus on the logic that makes your application unique rather than on the plumbing that enables it to communicate with remote servers.
True cross-platform distributed computing has been the Holy Grail of computer scientists for years, but only now, with the advent of Web services and tools that simplify them, is the dream finally realizable. Anyone who has spent the last several years wrestling with RPC, DCOM, CORBA, and other remote invocation protocols will agree: Web services are an idea whose time has come. For developers, the time to learn about them is now.