Vol. 5 Num 295 Sat. March 26, 2005  

Tech News
Web Service: anyone, anywhere, anytime

THINK of a service that is available to anyone at anytime and independent of the platform from which it is running. Web Services, are applications built to serve users. A web services application is an independent application all by itself and is available through the web, not requiring too many scripting language other than HTML and XML. This was revealed at a seminar on 'Web Service design and Implementation' organised by the Independent University Science Society, School of Engineering and Computer Science, Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB)

"Even though web applications have come a long way since its beginning, they are still constrained to the platform they are running from," said Ejaz Jamil, founder of Jence Incorporated of USA in his keynote speech after an introductory speech from Prof.

Mohammed Anwer, director, School of Engineering & Computer Science, IUB.

Web services technology guarantees portability. Regardless of how the application was written and what platform it runs on, the services can be used by a client or by another web service.

Even though the terms sound similar, Web based application is usually written in a programming language of choice. The application written this way on a server can only be used by a user platform where it runs and meets the specification of the application. Web based applications are thus limited to the target users only & may not be used by any other external users, services or applications.

Web services may also be thought of as reusable web application components. The services are designed to operate on any web environment, including firewalls and the fact that they are instance based further facilitates the user.

"Two massive advantages of web services are that they are most inexpensive and can be easily availed," mentioned Jamil.

Web Services technology is part of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), which may be used through different business models in banks, telecommunication services, foreign operations, services of government departments and manufacturers where large volumes of data are handled daily.

Jamil then introduced NineSYNC, a synchronisation web service that can be used to solve problems faced by these companies and departments in a cost-effective manner.

"It usually gets really tough and expensive for these companies to handle such massive volumes of data with an added threat of inaccuracy," said Jamil, while discussing the problems faced by the aforementioned business and public sector companies.

NineSYNC, developed by Jence Incorporated itself can connect to each branch office servers of a company through IP addresses and access the database and files as source. On the target end is the centralised database. The web service connects to each source and synchronises data to the target periodically without having the web service running on any of those servers.

The web service can also run on a completely different server in a distant location. For synchronisation of all these servers, only one web service application will be required.

"As long as a high speed internet access is available, this method will be very efficient and cost effective," informed Jamil.

Jubaer Arif, software design engineer of the Bangladesh chapter of Jence Incorporated then gave a brief demonstration on workflow of web service to the visitors, faculties and students at the event.

While expressing his thoughts about the development of web services in Bangladesh to StarTech, Jamil said, "The nation has huge potential through its valuable work force and the highly motivated students from the Computer Science and Engineering background."

He urged the private and public universities to begin special courses focusing on web services. Jamil also pointed out the need for highly efficient web connections, which are required to facilitate such education in the field.

Jence Incorporated plans to sell the NineSYNC, the data synchronisation and mapping software to Bangladeshi firms and services of the public and private sector.