Back to Windows and UNIX Integration Basics, Part 3

When this newsletter series was launched, discussion of data

interoperability primarily centered on exchanging ASCII based files

between platforms or using vendor specific filters. Typical data access

techniques, such as ODBC, tightly couple the client to dependencies on a

specific platform, operating system, or API model language. The state of

the art could hardly be construed as true interoperability.

Unfortunately, we are now witnessing the rapid emergence of data access

standards that should completely shift the equation. The most important

of these standards is XML and SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol). I

will spare the reader yet another tutorial on the nature and importance

of XML and SOAP, as volumes of such information are available through

any Web search engine. However, in order to illustrate the nature of the

evolution, I want to simply underscore one implementation.

The Microsoft and Hyperion specification on XML for Analysis is a

SOAP-based XML API. It was developed to standardize designed the data

access interaction between a client applications and an OLAP and data

mining analytical data provider. The objective was to provide an

Internet oriented platform independent, and language independent

environment. As a stateless technology, data exchanges between the

server and targeted client is reduced.

While this example of XML extension is one of many, it is clear that

this real world type of implementation will transform client/server data

communication. XML and SOAP are absolutely mission critical technologies

to learn and employ.

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