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Web Services

Web Services

Web Services have taken over the business world allowing for complete modularlization of functions and features as well as providing application wrapper or 'proxy' capabilities to allow two different systems to communicate to each other over XML no matter what the underlying technology the system is built from. Honestly, this is quite new for me as the bulk of my career has been within the confines of an installable GUI POS system built from C++, VisualBasic, and SQL. With that said, card processing protocols and equipment could be thought of as 'service' oriented and I feel confident in asserting that much of the need and progress in the realm of card processing and reporting systems led the way for the 'best practices' that carried over into web services as a philosophy.

The need for thousands of computers to poll or be polled, send or request data, and provide status updates was present in retial point-of-sale systems back in the late 80's and early 90's and XML as a messaging carrier was employed early on in the scheme of things. As TCP/IP, UDP, HTTP and similar protocols began to replace serial and coaxial connections between devices, developers have enjoyed much benefit from being able to reach out for the same basic suite of tools for ALL communication needs.

Convenience store equipment - often representing dozens of vendors under one roof - uses a pantheon of protocols and hardware solutions for communication needs. RS232 for scanners, printers and PIN Pads, RS485 and CL (current loop) for communcating to dispensers, simple twised pair wires for cash drawer solenoids, TCP/IP for POS terminals to communcate over a LAN, DB25 cables for custom protocols to legacy home-brew mother boards, and many other proprietry cabling and protocols are common place in the retail storefront.

To cut to the chase, we should all be thankful that all these needs can now be serviced by embedded OS's, Ethernet/WiFi, and TCP/IP solutions, drastically simpifying system design and resultant speed to market. And so I have finally found self surrounded by not only Web Services solutions in the context of a global leader in its industry but also in the context of the mobile phone app. It will prove to be a rewarding and exciting experience and the pages that follow will be the trail I leave as I explore these unknown realms.

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