What is a Web service?

A Web service is a piece of software that performs functions which can be anything from simple database lookup requests to complex scientific analysis. Web services are self-contained, self-describing, modular services that can be published, located, and invoked across the Web. Once a Web service is deployed, other applications (and other Web services) can discover and invoke the deployed service.

Web services are the main components of BioVeL workflows (in addition to local scripts). These are open access and curated.
We offer guidelines, best practices, and support on how to create Web services for BioVeL workflows.

What are the advantages to using Web services?

  • Web services are easy to execute: once you have set up a Web service, you can request it to execute with various applications that will automatically generate the input forms and display the results. The BioVeL Portal is one example of such an application; Taverna Workbench is another. You can also incorporate calls to the service in any programming language and you can use several services in one analysis by incorporating multiple Web services into workflows.
  • Web services are easy to create: there are easy-to-use state-of-the-art tools for making services out of software programs, command line applications and functions in any of the commonly used programming languages.
  • Web services are easy to publish: you do not have to worry how to make your service visible to the public. After registering a service in a popular public catalogue such as BioVeL BiodiversityCatalogue, it is easy to find based on its type, category, location, descriptions, tags, input type, etc.

BioVeL has developed a number of Web services for:

  • Taxonomy (e.g. Catalogue of Life, GBIF, OpenRefine)
  • Ecosystem modelling (e.g. Biome-BGC)
  • Metagenomics (e.g. metagenomics traits, BioMaS)
  • Phylogenetics
  • Mapping and visualisation (e.g. BioSTIF)

See the full list of BioVeL services.




19 February 2015

At the final review of the project by the EC, one of the reviewers said: “Incredible work done with a community that is not unified. Remarkable work. It opens for new development in a near future. Hope for success. Good project. Happy that you have been financed three plus years ago.”

Read all about the project and its results in the Project Final Report or read the Executive Summary only.