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web services - ever used/developed them?

I was just wondering whether the hype about web services has any basis in reality. I'm not aware of anyone who's using or developing them; anyone else know differently?

Wednesday, September 4, 2002

Yes,  check out and the whole blog world.

Dan Sickles
Wednesday, September 4, 2002

And a link

Dan Sickles
Wednesday, September 4, 2002

I have developed them, though I'm not using them much anywhere else. I think it is a niche thing, but very excellent in the right time and place. I can see it growing, but I'm not sure if it is the way of the future or not... I'm guessing not, but greater interaction between servers and apps is alomst a sure thing. Web loaded cached sections of apps in .Net to me is very interesting, not exactly a web service, but that ballpark... Web services are worth trying, just because of the insights it can give you for that kind of thing I think.

Robin Debreuil
Wednesday, September 4, 2002

Why don't you tell us why you care?  Sure it's hype, but if it means many people build libraries for you if you ever need them, why be disappointed?

Wednesday, September 4, 2002

A few examples of available (and potentially useful) web services...
"The TeeChart SOAP Web service provides a remote charting server. Charts are created at server side as images. The URL of the server side image is returned as a string."
"With the Google Web APIs service, software developers can query more than 2 billion web documents directly from their own computer programs. Google uses the SOAP and WSDL standards so a developer can program in his or her favorite environment - such as Java, Perl, or Visual Studio .NET."
" - In our Web services how-to section, you will find everything you need to learn more about our program [...] these methods return 'structured data' (product name, manufacturer, price, etc.) about top-selling products at based on parameters such as keyword search terms and browse tree nodes. "

Philip Dickerson
Wednesday, September 4, 2002

(begin list of real world uses for web services)

(end list)

From a slashdot post
Wednesday, September 4, 2002

I guess is not in real world.

Dan Sickles
Wednesday, September 4, 2002


Our project is using web services. At the moment a Java Servlet application uses SOAP to talk to a Java application which wraps a 4D database application (layer layer layer - 4D has most/all the business logic, so it's essentially wrapping a legacy app).

Future plans include talking directly to the SOAP-enabled wrapper with other systems. It seems to work fairly well and response times are good considering the number of layers we're working with.

We're using GLUE ( as our web services platform. It comes heavily endored by JavaLobby and I have seen a number of other positive reviews. The standard edition is free and it's fairly simple to use - at least for our requirements. For instance, here's how we publish an object:

HTTP.startup( ServiceProperties.get( ServiceProperties.GLUE_LOCATION ) );
Registry.publish( lServiceName, new DBWrapperImpl() );

Binding to it is just as easy.

There's a pro edition, and I'd assume it has more complete documentation (the Javadoc for the standard edition is a tad mysterious).

Walter Rumsby
Wednesday, September 4, 2002

"Why don't you tell us why you care? " - anon

Didn't realise I needed a reason; it was just a simple question! I hadn't thought about weblogs, to be honest - that would certainly qualify as a well-used service. Philip's links were also interesting. All I was trying to get at was whether they really are going to be the next big thing. I'm certainly not anti-webservices and I'm not "disappointed" that people are writing all these libraries. I also wonder if people will pay to use them or whether they're going to be more of a free service thing.

Thursday, September 5, 2002

No, I meant that if you had a specific purpose, I could give a better answer, because I work with web services.  For example, knowing the landscape is useful if you're a developer.  But if you're an investor, you might want to know the limits and fundamental ideas before you get sucked into an insane plan that sounds good on the surface.

The web services I know of either use web as an end-user delivery mechanism, or try some slow, highly textual RPC that can go through firewalls (for now).

Thursday, September 5, 2002

Yes, I'm developing a real world one.

It's a label printing service so our overseas manufacturers can run a client app that requests a label layout from one of our servers, then prints that label at their site. Marketing have strict requirements about how the label looks (so currently we print off loads of labels and mail them to our outsource production sites!!) and planning want to track how many cartons are being produced and despatched, so this way we get to both track overseas production in more or less real time, and also make them produce labels to our own standards.

The label layout is held in a simple XML document held in our DB here so we can modify the layout and have this change reflected immediately at the remote sites.

It works rather well here in the office - whether it works for real is something we'll find out soon enough.

Monday, September 9, 2002

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