Chapter: Internet & World Wide Web HOW TO PROGRAM - Rich Internet Application Server Technologies - Web Services

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Web Services

This chapter introduces web services, which promote software portability and reusability in applications that operate over the Internet.

Chapter 28


Web Services




This chapter introduces web services, which promote software portability and reusability in applications that operate over the Internet. A web service is a software component stored on one computer that can be accessed via method calls by an application (or other software component) on another computer over a network. Web services communicate using such technologies as XML and HTTP. Several Java APIs facilitate web services. In this chapter, we’ll be dealing with Java APIs that are based on the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP)—an XML-based protocol that allows web services and clients to com-municate, even if the client and the web service are written in different languages. There are other web services technologies, such as Representational State Transfer (REST), which we cover in the contect of ASP.NET web services in Section 28.9. For information on web services, see the web resources in Section 28.11 and visit our Web Services Resource Center at Web Services Resource Center in cludes information on designing and implementing web services in many languages, and information about web services offered by companies such as Google, Amazon and eBay. You’ll also find many additional tools for publishing and consuming web services. [Note: This chapter assumes that you know Java for Sections 28.2–28.8. To learn more about Ja-va, check out Java How to Program, Seventh Edition, or visit our Java Resource Centers at For Section 28.9, the chapter assumes you know Visual Basic and ASP.NET. To learn more about Visual Basic and ASP.NET, check out our book Visual Basic 2005 How to Program, Third Edition or visit our Visual Basic Resource Center ( and our ASP.NET Resource Center (]


Web services have important implications for business-to-business (B2B) transac-tions. They enable businesses to conduct transactions via standardized, widely available web services rather than relying on proprietary applications. Web services and SOAP are platform and language independent, so companies can collaborate via web services without worrying about the compatibility of their hardware, software and communica-tions technologies. Companies such as Amazon, Google, eBay, PayPal and many others are using web services to their advantage by making their server-side applications available to partners via web services.

By purchasing web services and using extensive free web services that are relevant to their businesses, companies can spend less time developing new applications and can create innovative new applications. E-businesses can use web services to provide their cus-tomers with enhanced shopping experiences. Consider an online music store. The store’s website links to information about various CDs, enabling users to purchase the CDs, to learn about the artists, to find more titles by those artists, to find other artists’ music they may enjoy, and more. Another company that sells concert tickets provides a web service that displays upcoming concert dates for various artists and allows users to buy tickets. By consuming the concert-ticket web service on its site, the online music store can provide an additional service to its customers, increase its site traffic and perhaps earn a commission on concert-ticket sales. The company that sells concert tickets also benefits from the busi-ness relationship by selling more tickets and possibly by receiving revenue from the online music store for the use of the web service.


Any Java programmer with a knowledge of web services can write applications that can “consume” web services. The resulting applications would call web service methods of objects running on servers that could be thousands of miles away. To learn more about Java web services read the Java Technology and Web Services Overview at



Netbeans—developed by Sun—is one of the many tools that enable programmers to “publish” and/or “consume” web services. We demonstrate how to use Netbeans to im-plement web services and invoke them from client applications. For each example, we pro-vide the web service’s code, then present a client application that uses the web service. Our first examples build web services and client applications in Netbeans. Then we demon-strate web services that use more sophisticated features, such as manipulating databases with JDBC and manipulating class objects. For information on downloading and install-ing the Netbeans 5.5.1 IDE, its Visual Web Pack and the Sun Java System Application Server (SJSAS), see Section 26.1.

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