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XML Web Services: Just Another Data Tier?

Many developers build a Web site and later, add XML Web services as separate projects, resulting in two code bases. This article shows you how to reuse XML Web service to provide data to your own applications.


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ost developers are now quite comfortable developing XML Web services. Visual Studio has a project template to create a new Web service project, but you don't need to create a separate project; you can add an XML Web service to any existing Web application developed in .NET. To do that, right-click on the project item in the Solution Explorer and select the "Add Web Reference" item from the popup menu. Enter the URL of the Web service into the Address field at the top of the Add Web Reference dialog. Visual Studio automatically creates the files required to use the Web service and adds them to your project. After you add a Web reference, you'll see the Web service appear in the Solution Explorer, similar to the project shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: This sample project has a default page (default.aspx) and an XML Web service (api.asmx).
As a real-world example, Amazon's Web services (AWS) give other Web sites and desktop applications access to Amazon's lists of books, CDs etc., and let them use Amazon's search engine to search for items using specified query parameters. Amazon has essentially outsourced Web page development by providing Web services to the partner Web sites.

The gist of this article is that you can offer Web services to friendly developers, and use the same code to populate your own Web site.



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