.NET Developer Tip
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Start Web services on your Intranet
It's likely that many developers are itching to get going with .NET programming and with Web services, but things being as they always are, haven't gotten to it. Using new technologies on production applications is dicey, especially when live customers are going to be involved. But here's an idea. You can use your Intranet to start developing your Web services. Then you can branch out from there, re-using many of the things you've developed for internal use. This tip, excerpted from InformIT, expands on this idea.
Intranet applications offer perhaps the most obvious scenarios for building XML Web services. First of all, your user base is already connected to your Web servers. Second, by virtue of having an intranet, your company has an expressed need to share information and services.
What makes an intranet a perfect venue for XML Web services is that you already have to build the functionality in some programming language. The overhead involved in writing your functionality into an XML Web service is not much greater, and in many cases even less, than what is required to build the functionality in some other format.
Now, once the XML Web service is completed and being used by your intranet applications as was originally intended, it will be easier to reuse the functionality in other intranet applications, desktop applications, and even Internet applications.
Imagine that your company has an intranet application that tracks employee sick days, vacation time, and benefits. Currently, supervisors navigate to files on specific employees, cut and paste information out of the Web application, and use it to generate reports and populate other applications.
Now your company asks you to enhance this intranet site by automating the report processes and exposing your data to other application developers. You could just give these other developers permission to directly hit your database and to place their ASP code on the server with yours, or you could build all of the benefits functionality into an XML Web service and expose it that way.
Now a developer in your company who decides to build a new desktop reporting tool can simply communicate with your Web service to get the needed data. Likewise, when other developers need to build ASP projects that share your functionality but don't have access rights to the server that your application is on, they merely need to be able to browse it and send HTTP requests to it.
To read the article from which this tip is excerpted, click over to InformIT. You have to register there, but the registration is free.
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This was first published in September 2002