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Web Services Description Language (WSDL) is an XML-based language that describes Web services and their uses.
A WSDL document is a concrete description of a Web service that includes both abstract and concrete elements.
WSDL describes the abstract functionality of a service and provides a framework for describing the concrete details of a service description. This formal description is required in order for distributed systems and communication between software applications.
WSDL 1.0 was introduced in 2000 and was developed through a collaboration by Microsoft, IBM and Ariba. The language was formalized in 2001 as version 1.1.
WSDL 2.0 is substantially different from version 1.1 and was endorsed as a W3C recommendation in 2007. Most third-party vendors, however, have not adapted their offerings to support WSDL 2.0. For example, the Web Services Business Process Execution Language (WS-BPEL) uses WSDL 1.1.
A WSDL 2.0 service description indicates how potential clients should interact with the described service. A WSDL document describes two aspects of a Web service: one abstract and one concrete.
In the description that follows, WSDL elements are italicized.