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Is this project a legitimate use for Web services? How would I apply the technologies?

I am a final year student and have undertaken a project to develop a virtual campus/enterprise portal for my university department. There are many databases & applications used in universities to monitor student data, (courses, fees, exams etc.) but which are all independent. I propose to make them talk to each other and allow students to do their administration online.

My confusion lies in my solution. My first question is, (1) Is this a legitimate application for the use of Web services? (2) If so, how would I apply the Web services technologies within the enterprise (i.e. SOAP, WSDL, UDDI, where do they all come into my solution?) and (3) Where would J2EE and .NET come into this model? They seem to be causing me much confusion as I don't understand how EJBs or VB.NET come into this EAI model for the university when various 3rd party apps already exist.

(1) Sure, but the use of a portal software, such as Plumbtree or, the use of an application server, may be a better choice considering the state of the technology. They also do Web services, but would not require as much back-end changes to your databases and systems.

(2) Again, you're focused on developing this thing yourself. I would select a technology vendor and leverage their approach to WS enabling technology.

(3) J2EE would be the enabling technology for application servers, .NET is merely 1 approach to Web services (and lots of other stuff according to Microsoft). Don't focus on that, focus on your requirements and find the best solutions, Web services or no Web services.

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