Microsoft(R) .NET XML Web Services

Overview

SOAP-based Web Services allow applications and trading partners to exchange information over the Internet using industry standard technologies such as HTTP and XML. Microsoft's .NET Framework and Visual Studio .NET provide the tools to create highly functional Web Services with relative ease. Though you may be familiar with previous technologies such as Active Server Pages and Visual BasicĀ®, this book will walk you further through creating and consuming simple Web Services. As the book progresses, new concepts ...
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Overview

SOAP-based Web Services allow applications and trading partners to exchange information over the Internet using industry standard technologies such as HTTP and XML. Microsoft's .NET Framework and Visual Studio .NET provide the tools to create highly functional Web Services with relative ease. Though you may be familiar with previous technologies such as Active Server Pages and Visual BasicĀ®, this book will walk you further through creating and consuming simple Web Services. As the book progresses, new concepts are introduced that will help you gain a better understanding of the core concepts XML Web Services are based on, including SOAP, WSDL, UDDI, DISCO, and .NET. The book includes dozens of step-by-step examples illustrating how to extend your Web Services to introduce advanced functionality. All examples are provided in both Visual Basic .NET and C#. Most importantly, this book demonstrates the power of Visual Studio .NET for enterprise developers who wish to accelerate the rapid development and consumption of Web Services.

Microsoft .NET XML Web Services, you will:

  • Create XML Web Services using Microsoft's Visual Studio .NET
  • Learn the details about emerging standards such as SOAP, WSDL, UDDI, and DISCO
  • Explore Microsoft's ultimate development environment, Visual Studio .NET, and how it can be used to accelerate the creation and consumption of XML Web Services
  • Discover how the .NET Framework works under the hood to hide the complexity of serializing objects, complex types, exceptions, and ADO.NET DataSets
  • Create a SOAP Extension that will monitor the health of your XML Web Services
  • Learn how to consume XML Web Services from the client Web Browser using Web Service Behaviors
  • Read about development, deployment, and security strategies that will assist you as you develop XML Web Services for your enterprise
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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
This guide is written for developers who use Visual Basic .NET or C#, know basic Internet protocols, have done some Internet programming, and have a basic knowledge of object-oriented development. Following a lengthy introduction to various Web services, the guide describes the advantages and use of each in turn, including SOAP, WSDL, DISCO, and ASP.NET. Other topics include using transactions and COM interoperability in Web services, Web service behaviors, and UDDI. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780672320880
  • Publisher: Pearson Education
  • Publication date: 11/27/2001
  • Pages: 464
  • Product dimensions: 7.42 (w) x 9.17 (h) x 1.09 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Tabor is a Microsoft Certified Professional in Visual Basic with over six years of experience developing n-tier Microsoft-centric applications for some of the world's most prestigious companies and consulting organizations such as Ernst & Young, KPMG, Cambridge Technology Partners, Sprint, American Heart Association, and Mary Kay, Incorporated. Bob regularly writes articles for SOAPWebServices.com, a site that explores the business and technical issues surrounding SOAP, Web Services, BizTalk, and Microsoft .NET. He is currently working on initiatives within Mary Kay of how to utilize .NET within their e-business group.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: Introducing Web Services

This chapter introduces Web Services from several different perspectives. First, you'll look at current business trends that require data exchange across potentially disparate homogeneous systems. Then you'll review the existing technologies that are available to address these data exchange needs, briefly examining their strengths and weaknesses. I'll introduce Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) and Web Services and how they address the shortcomings of existing solutions. Also, I'll briefly explain new specifications and technologies that surround SOAP and provide context to their role in the era of the programmable Web. Finally, I'll introduce ASP.NET Web Services and discuss ways that Web Services can be used in a common n-tier development model.

Why Web Services?

This is a fundamental question: What problem do Web Services solve? What is the need in the marketplace for this technology? Are there other technologies that "fit the bill" for this need? In the first part of this chapter, I'll show the current business and technical climate to paint a picture of the need for a technology such as SOAP and Web Services.

Current e-Business Trends Require Integrating Disparate Distributed Systems

In years past, the lack of a standard communication infrastructure was a barrier to organizations exchanging data with other organizations. Interaction between companies has always existed in some form. However, it was difficult to achieve a high degree of interaction electronically because of the number of different hardware and software platforms, the lack of common protocols, and the number of proprietary data stores. Through the Internet and its accompanying technologies, businesses are finding new ways to cooperate electronically with each other and enjoy higher degrees of business process cohesion. Within your organization, you might see one or more of the following trends beginning to emerge.
Business to Business Integration (B2Bi) Trend
The term Business to Business (B2B) came into vogue in the summer of 1999. It seemed every company was tacking this term onto existing corporations and dot-com startups' business plans to find favor with investors. 13213 soon became synonymous with procurement auctions. Suppliers would list their goods, both tangible (such as paper and light bulbs) and intangible (storage, shipping, labor, and so on), and they would be sold to the highest bidder. Dozens, if not hundreds, of industry-specific B2B sites currently exist as the middleman between buyers and sellers to create (in theory) a more efficient marketplace for goods and services.

However, procurement auctions did not adequately describe all the different interactions between businesses that could be achieved by using the Internet. A new set of terms began to pop up that described different ways businesses could work together to create a more efficient way of doing business. The most ubiquitous term you'll see is Business to Business Integration (B2Bi). Also, the term trading partner has gained a high degree of use recently. The idea is that companies can rely on each other as partners to promote and sell each other's products and services to their existing client bases. For example, two trading partners can tightly integrate their systems so that Company A is selling Company B's products. The product's prices and availability are retrieved in real time and displayed on Company A's Web site. When customers come to Company A's Web site, they are actually looking at the price and availability information that Company B has supplied. After the order is placed, Company B is responsible for fulfilling the order and providing customer assistance. Company A may, in fact, have many of these relationships with vendors and never have an inventory or customer service department of its own! This arrangement could represent significant savings. Company A's value to the marketplace could be that it aggregates the best products from many different vendors, or supplies deep discounts based on its volume, or just that it has the most recognizable brand name in the marketplace. Nike outsources most of its operations for creating athletic wear and shoes. However, its value to the marketplace is its designs and strong brand recognition.

Additionally, companies might integrate their systems in many other ways. Corporations can create purchase orders directly into their suppliers' order entry systems by using their own inventory management system or procurement software. Likewise, companies can seamlessly integrate a number of different services such as doctor referral, insurance, pharmacy orders, and patient transfers through the use of open and agreed-upon data exchange standards. There's literally no end to the possibilities. In the past, such tight integration would have been challenging and expensive.

Trend Toward the Virtual Value Chain
The concept of the value chain emerged many years ago as a way for companies to outsource business processes that were not the organization's core competency. Henry Ford used a vertically integrated value chain in the 1930s to design, build, deliver, market, and support his Model T Fords. More recently, companies began to outsource their human resource needs to third-party vendors who essentially "hired" the company's employees, gave them benefits packages, and managed the payroll, taxes, uniforms, and so forth. This concept expanded in many ways and is prevalent today. In fact, almost every company depends on an outsourced organization to contribute value to the organization.

Over time, companies started to rely on third-party outsourcing organizations to perform tasks that were even more critical to product or service delivery. A company might rely on one vendor to take orders, another vendor to manage inventory, and yet another vendor to make sure the product or services were delivered. In these instances, the value chain is virtual: Customer and product data must be exchanged between potentially many different companies to get the product or service from the order to the delivery.

Again, to quickly integrate two or more different systems requires open network and data exchange standards as well as a set of robust tools that allow developers to pull together these disparate systems quickly and easily.

Software as a Service Trend
Microsoft made a shocking statement in the summer of 2000. No longer did it want to be thought of as a software company that sells a product. Instead, it wanted to be a company that supplies software services. Microsoft began to outline how the entire product line would be available in some fashion as a software service. In other words, each application would be licensed as a rental, users would need to be somewhat connected to the Internet to take advantage of all the features of that software, and new updates to the software would be made automatically as you accessed the software over the Internet.

Although Microsoft is probably the best known, it's not the first software company to sell software as a service. Some of the first companies to offer software as a service did so more than 30 years ago. IBM, CSC, and EDS all provided computation, payroll, and other financial services to companies. More recently, a new crop of companies known as application service providers (ASPS) have provided their own software and hosted software from other companies to many clients since the summer of 1999. Applications for e-mail, customer relationship management, and supply chain management are just a few examples of the types of applications that have become available via the ASP model. From the clients' perspective, the ASP model offers them a more inexpensive way to implement and maintain these types of applications than hiring professionals to do these tasks. With professional staffing costs on the rise because of a recent high-tech labor shortage, this method makes sense financially in certain situations. From the ASPs' perspective, they can offer services to many companies, thereby achieving an economy of scale by hiring one staff that can service many companies. Also, they can offer their clients the expertise of professionals who are deeply focused on a particular technology. Such expertise is a luxury many companies cannot afford on their own. Similar to ASPs are companies that allow clients to outsource certain business activities, such as credit card validation, payment processing, and order fulfillment.

Trend Toward Repackaging Expertise
A new trend is emerging among companies that have developed a high degree of expertise in one or more business processes. For companies that have spent a lot of time and money developing a staff and infrastructure that can efficiently support online order management or order fulfillment, they can choose to repackage their expertise and offer these services to other companies (perhaps even their competitors!). As a result, they create a second company that continues to service the original company, but also repackages that expertise and sells it to other companies who are looking to outsource that particular business function. The most important benefit to the company is that the business process changes from a cost center to a profit center.
Trend of System Integration Within the Distributed Enterprise
Many large organizations have subsidiaries, departments, and divisions that are geographically and technologically dispersed. In most cases, an entire enterprise does not use just one type of hardware/software platform. There are a number of reasons for this: Some platforms are better suited for certain core business tasks, the particular division is not profitable enough to warrant the purchase and development of new hardware and software. Or, the divisions represent companies that had been purchased by the parent company, so the organization decided to leave the divisions' existing information technology (IT) infrastructure in place instead of mandating an expensive transition to systems that integrate better with the parent company and the other divisions. Whatever the case might be, in large (and even not so large) enterprises, multiple systems must be supported and these systems are often required to "talk" to each other.

In the past, integrating disparate systems was challenging. First, the gateway interfaces between two platforms were not always available. When there is no common ground--no common network transport mechanism, no common character codes, and therefore no common way to send data back and forth--it makes integrating these systems a nightmare. The dust has settled somewhat in this arena. However, there is still a need to quickly and easily share data between systems in a way that does not require the two systems to become tightly coupled, but securely shares corporate data within the organization.

Problems with Existing Technologies

Each of the trends I've discussed can be addressed with currently available technologies. Why do we need another technology? Unfortunately, existing technologies have some severe limitations that have thwarted many projects (or at least made them more challenging). Let's take a look at some of the most popular methods of exchanging data in the IT world from two perspectives: how companies format data they want to exchange, and how they transmit that data.

Data Format

In the past, companies have struggled to exchange data because one company prefers to send data in a different format than another company prefers to receive it. Translating the two formats is often difficult because few tools were available to automate this process. The tools that did exist were merely patches on a bad idea--a bad approach to formatting data for transmission in the first place. The following sections are two examples of how the IT world typically...
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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 Introducing Web Services 5
2 Creating a Simple Web Service with .NET SDK 37
3 Consuming a Simple Web Service with .NET SDK 51
4 Creating a Simple Web Service in Visual Studio.NET 65
5 Consuming a Web Service in Visual Studio.NET 75
6 How ASP.NET Works 89
7 Examining SOAP 103
8 Understanding WSDL 123
9 Understanding DISCO 137
10 Exceptions and Error Handling 145
11 Accessing ASP.NET Objects via Web Services 165
12 Three Methods of Calling Web Services 181
13 Web Service Attributes and Properties 193
14 Passing Complex Data Types and Structures 205
15 Passing ADO.NET DataSets via Web Services 233
16 Using the Web Services Designer in Visual Studio .NET 263
17 COM Interoperability and Web Services 273
18 Using Transactions in Web Services 285
19 Calling Web Services Asynchronously 301
20 Consuming Web Services in Office XP 321
21 Web Service Behaviors 337
22 Manipulating SOAP Headers in Web Services 353
23 Manipulating SOAP Messages Using XML Attributes 369
24 Using SOAP Extensions 377
25 Understanding UDDI 399
26 Configuring, Deploying, and Securing Web Services 413
27 Introducing .NET My Services 439
A Links to SOAP, Web Services, and .NET Links on the Internet 449
Index 451
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