This five-part article series will introduce you to Web Services. If you've ever wanted to incorporate them into your web sites, this is a good place to start. This article is excerpted from chapter 20 of the book Beginning PHP and Oracle: From Novice to Professional, written by W. Jason Gilmore and Bob Bryla (Apress; ISBN: 1590597702).
This chapter discusses some of the more applicable implementations of Web Services technologies and shows you how to use PHP to start incorporating them into your Web application development strategy right now. To accomplish this goal without actually turning this chapter into a book unto itself, the discussion that follows isn’t intended to offer an in-depth introduction to the general concept, and advantages, of Web Services.
Even if you have no prior experience with or knowledge of Web Services, hopefully you’ll find this chapter quite easy to comprehend. The intention here is to demonstrate the utility of Web Services through numerous practical demonstrations. Specifically, the following topics are discussed:
Why Web Services? For the uninitiated, this section very briefly touches upon the reasons for all of the work behind Web Services and how they change the landscape of application development.
Real Simple Syndication (RSS): The originators of the World Wide Web had little idea that their accomplishments in this area would lead to what is certainly one of the greatest technological leaps in the history of humankind. However, the extraordinary popularity of the medium caused the capabilities of the original mechanisms to be stretched in ways never intended by their creators. As a result, new methods for publishing information over the Web have emerged and are starting to have as great an impact on the way we retrieve and review data as did their predecessors. One such technology is known as Real Simple Syndication, or RSS. This section introduces RSS and demonstrates how you can incorporate RSS feeds into your development acumen using a great tool called Magpie.
SimpleXML: New to PHP 5, the SimpleXML extension offers a new and highly practical methodology for parsing XML. This section introduces this new feature and offers several practical examples demonstrating its powerful and intuitive capabilities.
SOAP: SOAP plays an enormously important role in the implementation of Web Services. This section discusses its advantages and introduces PHP’s SOAP extension, which was made available with the version 5 release.