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Thread: Web Services

  1. #1
    Don't eat yellow snow spaceman's Avatar
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    Web Services

    I just did a search on all of the Site Point Forums for the phrase "web AND services" in pursuit of some discussion on this new'ish Internet buzzword, but nothing whatsoever of relevance was found.

    The Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) seems to be underpinning a lot of talk on the subject. It all ties in with XML technologies (but of course!) I just found an excellent introduction to the impact that Web Services and SOAP will have on web development in the future at IBMs web site:

    http://www-106.ibm.com/developerwork...y/ws-ref1.html

    Also try this for size:

    http://xml.apache.org/soap/

    When the likes of IBM, Microsoft, and Apache and others are investing huge amounts of time and energy on this subject, I reckon it's a good reason for us web developers to start taking an interest.

    So why am I posting this message? I'm not sure really. Just to get the discussion going a bit I guess. My hunch is that we're going to be hearing a lot more about Web Services and SOAP in these forums in the coming months.

    Comments anyone?
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  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard johnn's Avatar
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    Hello,

    I read through it. SOAP seems to be complicated, fancy, for very large projects in corporate envirnoments...If the big companies wants us to use it, they should make it easy for us to understand and easy for us to use.

    I guess it depends on us. Do we specialized in web development for small businesses or are we corporate web developers? If we are corporate web developer then we need to learn about it. I think most of us do not work for large companies.

    John

  3. #3
    Don't eat yellow snow spaceman's Avatar
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    Thanks for your comments, johnn. I'm also a web developer looking after small-medium sized web applications. My reading on the subject at this stage suggests that "Web Services" are something that could be integrated into web sites (and web site applications) of all shapes and sizes.

    "From the draft W3C specification: SOAP is a lightweight protocol for exchange of information in a decentralized, distributed environment"

    I _think_ the idea is that, for example, I could set myself up as a provider of a "service" such as (for want of a better example) the latest scores for my local soccer team. Then anyone on the planet could hook into this "service" and display the latest scores of my local soccer team on a wide variety of platforms/applications without the need to recode of filter the data that they were receiving. Very XML'ish of course (which I also haven't got far into right now), but I think SOAP actually pulls the whole lot together. I think.

    I'm hoping someone with their finger more on the pulse will wade into this discussion with a more enlightened analysis/review.
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    ********* Callithumpian silver trophy freakysid's Avatar
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    I'm affraid I can't bring much enlightenment to the discussion. However, if you look at SOAP and XML from a corporate information management perspective as John suggests you can see the huge potential of these technologies in intranet and B2B internet services. Being able to transport data accross platforms, applications, networks. A sales manager can log into the corporate intranet from and instanly view sales orders while her sales reps are in the field also lodging the sales reports. Inventory systems can automatically forecast and place orders with suppliers in real time. An all this can be architected around XML so that interoperability of all the different systems and platforms in this web of data transfer becomes irrelevent.

    But I am not talking from any sound experience. Just from the little I have read on the subject.

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    SitePoint Addict mh8759's Avatar
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    There's a lack of interest for new technologies here on Sitepoint. Many people will eventually start developing web apps with ASP.NET and windows apps with other products from VisualStudio.NET, but here on Sitepoint still talk about ASP and PHP. That is because most of the Sitepoint's users are working for smaller companies or just for hobby. Web services with SOAP(UDDL, XML) will probably need about 1-2 years to get recognized among users. But I think it is a huge difference for developers. However, most of the stuff will be used by larger companies, but other users like web users will be using it too, probably even without knowing it. For example, lots of people use MSN Hotmail, Messenger etc., but they don't know that it is driven by Microsoft Passport, which is one of the first developed webservices.

    I've already get my hands on Visual Studio.NET Beta 1, I downloaded C# specification and I'm planning to start learning ASP.NET and SOAP with SOAP Toolkit 2.0. Plenty of work to do this summer.

    Have a nice day,
    Mare

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    Don't eat yellow snow spaceman's Avatar
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    Hi Mare,

    Thanks for your input. If there's one thing constant about the web development industry, it's change. The moment any business resists change, is the moment that they might as well cease trading. I guess the hard part is that we are always being bombarded with "the next big thing" that it's hard to differentiate between technologies that will make a difference and ones what won't. Hence people adopt a "wait and see" approach for fear of investing a huge amount of time and energy in "the next big thing" only to find out that the industry has moved on. Understandable, really. Although of cuorse there is money to be made by those people who do spot the technologies that will make a difference, and get in there first. Perhaps Web Services is one such technology?

    On the subject of PHP/ASP etc. - my hunch is that "Web Services" will make it less rather than more necessary to worry about choosing one scripting language over another since communication between them all will become that much easier.
    Last edited by spaceman; Jun 12, 2001 at 08:05.
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    SitePoint Columnist Skunk's Avatar
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    Forgive me if I'm wrong, but as far as I can see all SOPA is is a way of passing variables and so forth from one programming language to another using XML. SOAP can take a variable, array, multi-dimensional array, object or whatever and represent that data structure in a nice standard format so it can be transferred to another programming language.

    Am I right? If so then what's the big deal? Sure it's a useful technology that will help anyone who wants to transfer information easily from one programming language to another but I don't see how it's going to revolutionise the world of computing. Or have I completely missed the point somewhere...

    I wish new technologies like this would be accompanied by a "user friendly" description that explains what they are and what they can be used for in real world terms, rather than terrifying statements such as "SOAP is a lightweight protocol for exchange of information in a decentralized, distributed environment. "

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    SitePoint Addict mh8759's Avatar
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    I understand whar you mean, Skunk, and i'll try to explain to you what exactly SOAP is(that's just what I know about it and I don't know THAT much yet).
    SOAP is Simple Object Access Protocol. In Linux it is called SOUP(no kidding). It uses XML messages to exchange information between PLATFORMS - this is one of the most important features. It is platform indenpendent. Also users,companies, etc don't need to change or buy any new hardware - this is another advantage. It has many other features too(you should refer to MSDN(for Microsoft's SOAP) documentation) which I don't know yet.
    What is it used for? Well, offering web services. Web service is a program that runs on some server and accepts messages from clients and returns the requested data. Microsoft Passport for instance is a web service which connects to the database of all users of Microsoft services. Everybody can subscribe to it and use it on his own website.
    Another example - you would have a bank. And this bank would have website where they would publish everyday's exchange rates. If someone wanted to know these rates, he/she would have to check it on the website or make some sort of website capturing. This could be very hard to do, for example if you only need to know USA/DEM conversion rate to use it in your application(web-based or not). But with SOAP this bank would create a web service that would accept messages from clients and return the desired information(in this case, USA/DEM exchange rate). This process can be done very quickly, no time at all.

    When I first found out about SOAP, I've seen an example web service that offers all of the Mathematica functions, formulas, equation solving to its clients. Web service was connected with Mathematica and offer Mathematica features to its clients. The author said that If he was going to publish this web service, Volfram Research(makers of Mathematica) would go out of business. He added:"Of course I'm not going to do that."

    The next step will probably be how to use programs like Microsoft Office over the internet. It presents quite a high security and copyright risk, but Microsoft seems to believe in it.
    My opinion is that it will definitely take some more time, at least a year, to achieve this.

    Mare

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    SitePoint Zealot pnathan's Avatar
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    Why not have a look at this company:

    Cape Clear

    Cape Clear's Web Services software products help companies integrate and open up their business functions to the Web, ultimately enabling them to set up complex peer-to-peer interactions with other companies.

    They have two products CapeConnect:

    CapeConnect is a complete Web Services Platform that allows you to automatically expose your existing Java, EJB and CORBA components as Web Services without writing code. CapeConnect Web Services provide full support for SOAP, WSDL and UDDI.

    CapeStudio
    CapeStudio is a Rapid Application Development (RAD) environment for creating Web Services and XML-based applications.
    I have two tickets to the Crows, sweet.

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    Web Services are here

    Guys, This is a older discussion, so I may be stating the obvious when I say that Web Services have arrived. Or, at least, now we've got the tools and industry backing to begin to implement them on a large scale.

    I don't want to repeat any of the very good points made here, but SOAP is really nothing more than a protocol, just like HTTP. However, look at what HTTP has given birth to - the Public Internet! Now, I'm not going to insult anyone's intelligence by saying that Web Services are going to change the world...but I do believe that they will make the development of robust web sites easier and faster.

    I highly recommend a short O'Reilly book called "Programming Web Services with SOAP", its great starting point for those unfamiliar with Web Services.

    I work in an enterprise environment in support of a large b2b marketplace. We've just begun to take a look at how our development can be improved using Web Services. I'm curious, is there anyone out there in the same boat? It would be great to bounce ideas off of someone outside of my company, to get a better idea for what might work here or anywhere.

    Anyone know a lot about UDDI? I know that it basically enables search engine functionality for Web Services, but thats about it. I'd love to learn more or find out about references out on the WWW that would help me understand how IBM and Microsoft (and HP?) plan to get this thing off the ground.


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