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Prior to ADS 11, data stored in the Advantage Database Server could only be accessed via an Advantage client interface of some sort (Delphi components, .NET Data Provider, PHP driver, etc.). All of these interfaces are built on top of the Advantage Client Engine (ACE) which only supports two platforms; Windows and Linux.
The easiest way to consume data from other platforms such as post-PC devices like mobile phones, tablets, etc. is to expose that data via a web service. Creating a web service can be trivial or a pain point depending on experience. No matter how familiar web services are creating one presents many choices to be made at a high level (IIS, Apache, Ruby, Python, ASP.NET, PHP, etc.) and even more at lower levels (framework decisions, REST vs RPC, etc.).
Once implemented, these technologies work well with Advantage, but have introduced a variety of moving parts that must now be understood and maintained. In addition, the requirement for these technologies as a foundation has increased both development time and project scope. For many teams this is a manageable solution, but for others this entry barrier prevents projects from ever getting off the ground.
A Built-In Solution
The web service is a RESTful API that returns data using the OData specification. It can return XML (default) or JSON data. Every modern development environment provides the ability to make an HTTP call and consume a web service. This means access to Advantage data from literally any programming language and on any device platform.
Configuration is VERY simple. Add the path to the database to be exposed to a configuration file, and that’s it. This allows for immediate secure (via HTTPS) requests and updates of data from the Advantage server via web URI’s.
Example code and videos: