Monday, November 13, 2006


Learn Web Sevices the easy way

Julian Robichaux of NSF Tools and Taking Notes(Lotus Notes Podcasting) fame(among others), has published a very good article on Web services on IBM's Developer Works titled, "Practical Web Services in IBM Lotus Domino 7: What are Web services and why are they important?". The timing was great for me because this is a subject I've been focused on as of late. This is the first article of a three part series and the first part is a generic explanation of Web services. The following articles will be more directed to the Domino developers. What I find great about this article, besides the timing, is Julian's ability to take a subject that could be very technical and explain the technology in a very simple to understand manner. He doesn't try to impress me with all the lingo(and there's a ton). Instead he uses common examples to explain the terms. For example, his defining of the term "Namespace" is typical of the tone of the entire article:

"XML allows you to use something called a namespace, which lets you predefine the expected structure of a particular named element in the file. For example, you could define a Price element that is always a floating-point number or a PersonName element that has FirstName and LastName sub-elements that are both strings.
Namespaces also allow different elements with the same name to have different definitions, if necessary. For example, a StockPrice element in one namespace may have a ticker symbol and a price, while a StockPrice element in another namespace may have ticker symbol, price, daily high and low, and 12-month high."

To me, this is a term that's not difficult but some writers could make the definition difficult to understand. Julian goes out of his way using many examples to help us with understanding the terms.

To further make my point, I like Julian's comment on the pronunciation of WSDL:

"The WSDL acronym is often pronounced as "Whiz-dull."

Yeah, Baby... Love that...

Don't miss the text in the grey boxes on the right margin. Just like many tech books, there's good stuff there too. My favorite is the further explanation of SOAP. SOAP can be implemented differently by different vendors. When I recently worked on a web consuming mini-project(testing), I was wondering about these issues that Julian explains. I found it annoying that I was hunting around with my eyes for the namespace, methods and endpoint. This article helps me to understand I'm "thinking" the right way.

Way to go, Julian. I'm sure your high school/college English teachers would be proud of you. (I know mine would)

Looking forward to the next two articles!

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Wow, thanks Curt! What a great review!

Part #2 just got posted today, so now you get to start playing with real code. The fun stuff...
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