Quick Review:Ajax
Automate data entry with Web services and Ajax

Miscellaneous thoughts

Some miscellaneous comments on this solution and Web services:

  • Web services work regardless of the programming language. This example used Ruby on Rails, but it also works with other languages and frameworks.
  • This solution lacks a plan for what to do when the USPS Web service isn’t available. Maybe a local cache can help minimize the impact of an outage.
  • The parsing of the XML response from the Web service is probably the least elegant code written. Maybe a template can help this area of the solution.
  • Why bother the user with entering a city and state when it’s possible to look them up with just a ZIP code?
  • How effective are these various working groups that bequeath Web service standards into the marketplace?
  • Has anybody ever thought for one second about implementing the Universal Description Discovery Integration (UDDI) standard?
  • Are Web service standards too complex? Can developers wade through all the acronyms?
  • Rarely does the marketplace declare only one winner. Many competitors advance to the next round. But the marketplace seems quite efficient at weeding out the losers.
  • How long until the naysayers question RoR’s performance, security, or production worthiness?

The marketing muscle of many big companies is clouding the Web service waters, and this article addressed a common problem with a simple and easily understood Web service. The people at the United States Postal Service have implemented a solid and very useful Web Service. Jakarta Struts was a vast improvement over previous efforts to address Web application frameworks—to address the whole model view controller (MVC) stack. Ruby on Rails is, at least, a significant improvement over Struts.

June 2008 | Java Jazz Up |24
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