The provision and analysis of data in the life sciences are heavily reliant on the internet. However, in order to be effective, machine-friendly interfaces are necessary due to the expanding amount of data and analysis tools available. In bioinformatics, the most prevalent HTTP-based Web service technologies are Representational State Transfer (REST) services and Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP). However, these methods have significant drawbacks, such as the inability of services to send status notifications and the lack of discoverability. Although a number of complementary workarounds have been proposed, the resulting ad hoc solutions can be cumbersome and of varying quality With its extensions, XMPP is a powerful protocol for cloud services that has a number of advantages over traditional HTTP-based Web services. These advantages include the following: services are discoverable without the need for an external registry; asynchronous invocation gets rid of the need for ad hoc solutions like polling; and input and output types that are defined in the service make it possible to generate clients on the fly without the need for an external semantics description. XMPP is a highly intriguing option for the next generation of online services in bioinformatics due to its numerous advantages over existing technologies.
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