When you talk about iOS cloud programming, you’re talking about two distinct things. The one is iCloud, which is implemented for you by Apple and allows you to synch data between devices. The other is web services, which enable you to have some of your app’s processing done by a remote computer somewhere in the middle of who-knows-where. iCloud is relatively new; web services have been around for a long time.

In fact, web services and I go way back.

Although I had used them for quite a while, the value of web services was driven home when I was consulting for a large mainframe-based organization. (Yes, that was a long time ago.) The organization had acquired a company and needed to interface the two computer systems. The systems were very different, and time-to-market and (especially) cost considerations made wholesale rewriting of the acquired company’s systems impractical, not to mention foolish.

So, instead I took the functionality of the acquiring company’s computer systems and made that functionality accessible (wrapping them as the terminology goes) as web services. Then all I had to do was go in and make some small changes to the acquired company’s system to call those web services and, voilà, I was done.

Okay, the solution required a bit more work than that, but a lot less than rewriting all those COBOL programs. (I told you this was a long time ago.)

Worked great.

Later on, I did the same thing for a company whose architecture had stood them well for years ...

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