6: Retrieving Data from External Source s in VS .NET

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6: Retrieving Data from External Source s
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Figure 625: Browser test form for the SaveItem Web service method
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on the Invoke button returns the XML data shown in Listing 63 This response is exactly the data that a client application like InfoPath would receive when querying this Web service endpoint
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Listing 63: Web Service Response from Running GetSavedItems
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< xml version="10" encoding="utf-8" > <ArrayOfString xmlns:xsi=http://wwww3org/2001/XMLSchema-instance xmlns:xsd=http://wwww3org/2001/XMLSchema xmlns="http://tempuriorg/"> <string>banana</string> <string /> </ArrayOfString>
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The Web Service Test Page
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The test page is meant to be used by the Web service developer on the server itself for debugging and rudimentary testing If the same page is accessed from a different computer, it shows the message The test form is only available for requests from the local machine
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InfoPath Web Services The next step is to use InfoPath with our Web service sample But unlike the browser test form shown in Figure 624, a true Web service client like InfoPath can reside on any computer (including the same computer) with access to the Web server Let s jump into InfoPath; however, this time we ll create a main data connection to our Web service Creating a main data connection uses the same Data Connection Wizard as secondary connections, so it s a very similar process
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Web Ser vice s
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Instead of designing a new blank form, we ll choose to design a form from a Web service Next, we are asked whether we want to receive data, submit data, or both Since our Web service has save methods as well as get methods, we ll want to do both so we can submit to those methods that save data and receive from GetSavedItems Since we re choosing to receive and submit data, we re really setting up two separate connections: Web service query and Web service submit data connections This is one of the only cases when InfoPath sets up two separate connections simultaneously On the next page of the Data Connection Wizard we are prompted for the location of the Web service Remember that this dialog is really asking for the WSDL location (as shown by the example text in Figure 626) The location to your WSDL is usually going to start with http:// and typically includes WSDL appended to the Web service address But you don t need to add WSDL to the address since InfoPath will do it for you if the rst attempt to get the WSDL fails Please disregard the Search UDDI button for now UDDI is a topic for discussion in 7
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Figure 626: Entering an address to the WSDL
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6: Retrieving Data from External Source s
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WSDL Portability
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Remember that a WSDL is simply XML and can exist as a file even on your local computer s disk drive Since WSDL encapsulates the physical Web service address, it is a portable definition and can exist autonomously
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NOTE
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Displaying the Web Service Method Description
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The Description of operation section in Figure 627 displays the Web service method description from the WSDL This description comes from the Description property of the WebMethod attribute in the Web service code In this case, no description exists in the Web service code
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On the next page (Figure 627), we re presented with the list of all methods available from our Web service You should recognize the method names from the code we wrote earlier using Visual Studio Since this step of the wizard is asking us to choose an operation (ie, a method) for receiving data, the obvious candidate is GetSavedItems If you were to try choosing a method that does not return data (void is the method return type in code), such as SaveItem or SaveItems, InfoPath would show an error dialog saying the method cannot be used because it does not return any data The next wizard page is a summary for the query portion of our data connection It s visually identical to the nal wizard pages of other data connections, such as Figure 67 Enter a name for the query data connection As we ve previously mentioned, the name is mainly used for own identi cation purposes We ll leave it as the default name of Main query Clicking Next shows what appears to be the same wizard page we saw in Figure 626 But notice upon closer examination that the text is slightly different The text in this page is identifying this step as the submit portion of the data connection You could set up your form to submit to a different server than the one from which you receive data But as you may have
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