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Professional Mobile Application Development by Scott Gowell, Jeff McWherter

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Chapter 3

Creating Consumable Web Services for Mobile Devices

WHAT’S IN THIS CHAPTER?

  • Understanding web services
  • Using web service languages (formats)
  • Creating an example service
  • Debugging web services

Many of today’s mobile applications are personalized, and are not useful if they can only access the data on the phone. For a user to get, for example, sports scores, retrieve stock quotes, or perform accounting work, the mobile device needs to communicate with one or more servers. The best way to achieve this communication is through web services.

This chapter covers what a web service is, the technologies involved in web services, and how to create web services on the Windows platform and the Linux platform. Four different walkthroughs show you how to create web services with four different technologies.

WHAT IS A WEB SERVICE?

A web service enables two electronic devices to communicate over the Internet. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) defines web service as “a software system designed to support interoperable machine-to-machine interaction over a network.” In practice this means a server communicating over port 80 or port 443 in plain text to the client.

Other methods of communication are remote procedure calls (RPC), the distributed component object model (DCOM), and the common object request broker architecture (CORBA). These methods of communication don’t work well through the Internet due to firewalls and the data formats they use. Typically their data formats are specific ...

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