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Web Services Q&A - April/May/June 2003

Section A: General Web Services

1. Does Sybase have a Web services tutorial?
2. What is the status of security for Web services?
3. Does Sybase have tips/instructions for using Web services in EAServer 3.6.1?

Section B: Web Services and PowerBuilder

4. Can the PowerBuilder 9 SOAP connection object be used through a proxy server? If so, how?
5. How can I develop Web applications in PowerBuilder?

Section C: Web Services and Databases

6. What is the minimal software required to simply expose stored procedures in a Sybase DB as a Web service end point?
7. Are there Sybase tools for creating html forms for web-tier (browser) access to database tables?


1. Does Sybase have a Web services tutorial?

There are numerous resources available to help you get started with Web services.

For a high-level overview of how other Sybase products support Web services, see Sybase Web Services - Evolution of Integration Functionality.

2. What is the status of security for Web services?

For information about security in EAServer Web services, see http://www.sybase.com/detail?id=1023845#b3.

3. Does Sybase have tips/instructions for using Web services in EAServer 3.6.1?

EAServer 4.1 and above includes the Web Services Toolkit, so you should upgrade to the latest release. Since EAServer 3.6.1 will be end-of-lifed on October 31, 2003, you should not be using it for new development projects.

Please note the End Of Life Notification for EAServer 3.5, 3.6 and 3.6.1: http://www.sybase.com/detail?id=1017373.


4. Can the PowerBuilder 9 SOAP connection object be used through a proxy server? If so, how?

If you wish to access something -- whether it be a program or Web page or a Web service -- that sits behind a firewall, then you need to use whatever technique is required to allow access behind that firewall. For example, you would need to authenticate using VPN or some API calls from your home computer to be able to access the business systems at your office. Once you establish the connection from your home computer and your office network, then you can run the business systems as usual.

If you wish to use a Web browser to call a Web service that lives behind a firewall, then you would first need to use whatever connection mechanism is required to give to access behind that firewall, before the Web browser could be expected to receive a response. Similarly, if you wish to consume a Web service from a PB client application, you would first need to establish a connection to get access behind the firewall.

When establishing a SOAP connection using HTTPS, The SetOptions method on the SoapConnection object allows you to specify a UserID and Password. However, due to a current limitation in PowerBuilder 9, the UserID and password are not passed along if there is a proxy server included. This feature is being tracked as CR 319114, which we are targeting/hoping to address in the PowerBuilder 9.01 maintenance release.

A couple other notes:

  • PowerBuilder 9 supports SOAP 1.1 over the HTTP transport.
  • PowerBuilder supports external API calls if you need to call an external method for authentication into a network.

5. How can I develop Web applications in PowerBuilder?

Here are some resources to get you started:

In addition, refer to past Web Services Q&As for similar questions and additional information.


6. What is the minimal software required to simply expose stored procedures in a Sybase DB as a Web service end point?

The minimum necessary software is one of two things:

1. For the “do it yourself” person who has Java enabled in their database: you can load classes from Apache called AXIS to enable Web services support. Although these classes handle the core of Web services support, they still leave a lot of work for programmers and administrators. For example, the administrator must then set up their own WSDL, and create their own directory server. Also, a programmer will need to take the incoming requests and create SQL to attach to it. Finally, a Web Service Listener must be created to monitor for incoming requests.

2. The easier way is to use Sybase EAServer. EAServer has the ability to proxy stored procedures as components running in EAServer. EAServer contains built in Web services support, with a simple wizard based interface for exposing the web service, writing the WSDL, and then servicing all requests. And, since EAServer is a separate server, it does not open up potential security holes by allowing anyone to talk to the database directly on an HTTP port. For more information, see the EAServer Web Services Toolkit User Guide, and the Application Integrator for Stored Procedures Reference Manual.

7. Are there Sybase tools for creating html forms for web-tier (browser) access to database tables?

Yes. There are two of them, actually.

For Read and Write capabilities: We suggest one of our flagship products, PowerBuilder 9.0. The latest version of PowerBuilder, 9.0, provides both client-server and web based access methods for datawindows (which is the industries easiest way to access DB tables) as well as providing editors for JSP’s to create entire web sites.

If you only want to view data: The better tool here would be Enterprise Portal Information Edition. EP 5.0 IE will run on almost any JSP based web server (including Apache Tomcat), and provides a web based GUI where the administrator can write SQL and have the results posted back as a web page. The tool contains the ability to accept input parameters from the user, and also has filtering capabilities to eliminate columns or specific rows of data.




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