What is the difference between SOA and a Web service

SOA is a software design principle and an architectural pattern for implementing loosely coupled, reusable and coarse grained services. You can implement SOA using any protocols such as HTTP, HTTPS, JMS, SMTP, RMI, IIOP (i.e. EJB uses IIOP), RPC etc. Messages can be in XML or Data Transfer Objects (DTOs).

Web service is an implementation technology and one of the ways to implement SOA. You can build SOA basedapplications without using Web services – for example by using other traditional technologies like Java RMI, EJB, JMS based messaging, etc. But what Web services offer is the standards based  and platform-independent service via HTTP, XML, SOAP, WSDL and UDDI, thus allowing interoperability between heterogeneous technologies such as J2EE and .NET.