Product Details Web Service XML

CompareNShop (CNS) is a U.S.-based organization that provides data for shoppers all over North America. This data includes the prices, features, and descriptions of a wide range of products. In June 1996, the company went online. The Web site allows users to query information about products of the organization. In addition, the users can compare the features and prices of similar products from different vendors.

An important feature of CNS's business model is to syndicate data to other online content providers. Most of CNS's clients are horizontal portals that make use of CNS's database to 92 provide information to their visitors. Currently, CNS makes its data available to its clients by replicating the database and distributing it every month. The clients then integrate the database with their own sites. This involves a lot of effort because not only must the database be replicated, but the clients also must update their sites with new data every month. In addition, the integrity of the data is affected; even though the database at CNS is updated daily, the clients receive the updated data only once a month.

To overcome the preceding problems and to make the data-sharing process more flexible, CNS has decided to expose the functionality of its systems through XML Web services. After the Web service is developed, the client sites will be able to access the updated data and display it at all times.

In addition, Web services offer another advantage: All the clients of CNS will be able to access the updated data regardless of the technology and platforms they use. This also will enable CNS to make new clients because the clients will find it easy to access and integrate the content from the CNS database.

CNS plans to bring in more flexibility to their business model by allowing clients to access data on a per-search basis. In addition, CNS will be able to expand their clients' base because the clients will not be required to maintain the infrastructure to store and update the CNS database.

The current infrastructure at, the portal of CNS, is based on Windows Distributed interNet Applications Architecture (DNA). The business logic of the portal is encapsulated in COM components, and the user-interface facade is done using ASP. To save effort and time, CNS plans to create a Web service by reusing the existing COM components. Having looked at the scenario in which you can use the Products Details Web service, we will now discuss the life cycle of the project.

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