Taverna can access a large number of Web services in the fields of bioinformatics, astronomy, chemoinformatics, health informatics and others. Although many examples of using Taverna lie in the bioinformatics domain, Taverna is actually domain-independent. This means that Taverna can be applied to a wide range of fields.

Web services make it possible to get automated access to data from the Internet without using a browser. Technically a Web service is a software system designed to support interoperable machine-to-machine interaction over a network. Software or applications written in various programming languages and running on various platforms can use Web services to exchange data over a network such the Internet.

Taverna can invoke generic WSDL-style or REST-style Web services.

Taverna can also access other types of Web services, such as BioMoby , BioMart and SoapLab services.

In addition to Web services, Taverna can invoke local Java services (Beanshell scripts), local Java API (API Consumer), R scripts on an R server (Rshell scripts), and import data from a cvs or Excel spreadsheet.

Taverna can also call external tools (commands) on a local or remote machines you can ssh to.

Taverna also provides services (XPath and XML splitters) that can help you assemble XML content or extract content from an XML snippet returned by a service. XML splitters are always in conjunction with WSDL services and are explained together.

Domain and shim services

All services accessible from Taverna can be broadly categorised into domain services and shim services.

A rule of thumb for distinguishing a domain service from a shim service is that a workflow, when the shims services are invisible, is equivalent to the methods section of a scientific paper. If a service needs to be explicitly mentioned in the method, then it is not a shim.

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Various service types supported in Taverna: