Web service interfaces design for e-business applications

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As a result of the rapid developments in Web Service standards and technologies during the last decade, many organisations are implementing applications using Web Services. Some organisations are making significant commitments to Web Service standards and technology platforms. Successful projects using Web Services will to a large extent depend on the effective design and development methodologies used in the construction of an e-business application. While the importance of application design in general is recognised, so far only limited attention has been paid to design issues for service-oriented e-business applications. Currently there are no comprehensive methodologies for designing service interfaces. The traditional e-business interoperability approach is for business partners to interchange the industry standard business documents or XML messages (i.e. UBL, OTA). This approach is complex and inefficient because the business document is large and results in many optional and repeated elements that are redundant. Developing Web Services for e-business is time-consuming due to the considerable effort required to define the interfaces and maintaining a large volume of standard business documents. This work proposes to use the minimalist design approach to optimise a set of standard business documents and interfaces. The proposed interface is exposed as an abstract layer to the external parties and is able to process multiple actions corresponding to a business document. The method is based on analysing existing business documents, identifying the key elements responsible for an operation, and then exposing the operation interface that corresponds to the business document rather than the business event. This can be achieved by inserting business event action elements into the XML schema. Doing so will not only reduce the number of operation interfaces but also increase the Web Service interface’s flexibility and extendibility. Web Service implementation projects conducted in the absence of a design framework are likely to suffer from poor reuse and extensibility. In order to achieve reusability, this method enables the operation to be invoked based on individual action or multiple actions for the same interface. This is because a single action operation typically represents a fine-grained business task. Consequently, the interface is always extendable due to using multiple actions in the operation. Finally, this thesis will detail the above mentioned methodology to optimise e-business Web Service interface to become more flexible, reusable and extendable. We will illustrate the design methodology using a purchase order business process example based on the Universal Business Language specification in order to demonstrate its effectiveness.
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