Integrating Web Services and Office XP - XML

You are aware of several benefits of XML Web Services. In this section, we will discuss the benefits that are in context to Office XP. These benefits are discussed in the following list:

  • XML Web Services enable traditional challenging requests that query enterprise data to be exposed as simple HTTP requests.
  • Complex business logic is hidden from the developer and surfaced as an HTTP request.

It is believed that Microsoft will use XML Web Services to solve the enterprise-dataintegration challenge. In addition, Microsoft aims to soon migrate to XML Web Services as the replacement for technologies, such as Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM) and Remote Procedure Call (RPC).

However, not much work has been done in the area that deals with the interaction of end users with XML Web Services. Ultimately, as with all custom solutions, a user who is working on a PC will be able to invoke that piece of business logic or launch that enterprisedata query.

Microsoft has positioned Office XP as the front end, exposing XML Web Services to end users. This is mainly because Office XP is easy to use and is already integrated into your daily routines.

To help developers incorporate XML Web Services into their Office XP-based applications, Microsoft recently released the Office XP Web Services Toolkit. The next section discusses the Office XP Web Services Toolkit in detail.

Introduction to the Office XP Web Services Toolkit

The Office XP Web Services Toolkit provides developers with an easy way to incorporate XML Web Services into their Office XP-based applications. Specifically, the toolkit enables you to search for XML Web services and incorporate them into your Office XP-based solutions. The toolkit provides an add-in to the Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) development environment that replicates the XML Web service find-and-reference capabilities found in Visual Studio .NET.

The Office XP Web Services Toolkit provides a Web Service References Tool that allows you to create and reference a Web service. The following section discusses the Web Service References Tool.

To create a Web service by using the Office XP Web Services Toolkit, you first need to install the following software on the development computer:

  • Microsoft Windows XP
  • Microsoft Office XP
  • The Web Service References Tool
  • The SOAP Toolkit 2.0 SP2

After you have installed the Web Service References Tool on the development server, open the Office Visual Basic Editor in any application that supports VBA. These applications include Office applications. You will learn to do this while creating the Web service for JB Book Sellers. Creation of the Web service is discussed in the following section.

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