WEB BASED DATA TRANSFORMATION USING XML, .NET FRAMEWORK

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Dec 4, 2013 (3 years and 9 months ago)

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WEB BASED DATA TRANSFORMATION USING XML, .NET FRAMEWORK

CECS 398


PROBLEM DEFINITION

Matthew Smith

Darius Balarashti

Wednesday, October 10, 2001

WEB BASED DATA TRANSFORMATION USING XML, .NET FRAM
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Background


We wanted to come up with a project that utilized XML (eXtensible Markup Language) and

was
customizable for various devices. We also were interested in using new technologies for web
applications. We came across the .NET platform and the Microsoft Mobile Internet Toolkit, which
allowed applications to be written using XML, SOAP, UDDI, and

HTTP.

By using the aforementioned protocols and languages, one can effectively write a business
-
to
-

business (B2B) application. XML is called “extensible” because it is not a fixed format; it lets you design
your own customized markup languages for lim
itless different types of documents. XML can be used to
store any kind of structured information. It can also be used to enclose or encapsulate information in
order to pass it between different computing systems that would otherwise not be unable to
commu
nicate

UDDI,
Universal Description Discovery and Integration, takes advantage of standards
such as XML, and HTTP and Domain Name System (DNS) protocols. According to UDDI.org, UDDI is
striving to be an “industry
-
wide, accepted approach for businesses to re
ach their customers and
partners with information about their products and Web services.” In essence, UDDI
provides an XML
-
based method for
businesses to describe themselves and the Web
-
based services they offer. In the
context of our use, H
ypertext Tran
sfer Protocol (HTTP)
is the set of rules for exchanging files (text,
graphic images, sound, video, and other multimedia files) on the
World Wide Web
.
Basically, it allows
us to connect our application to the web. Simple Object Access Protocol, or SOAP,
i
s a lightweight,
XML based protocol for exchange of information in a decentralized, distributed environment.
Essentially, it defines the framework for describing what is being transferred and how to process it. As
Figure 1 illustrates, the .NET framework

is built upon all these technologies.



Figure 1: .NET framework

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The idea behind the project is to come up with a sample application that would utilize these
technologies. Using the ASP.NET framework, an example application would be a web application t
hat
acts as an intermediary between two corporations in exchanging data. The company would send a
request for data using SOAP. Using SOAP, the requested data would then be returned to the company
in XML using a standard data type definition (DTD) or XML
Schema. The received XML
-
formatted
content can then be processed by middleware (the Microsoft IIS Server, in this case) into HTML, WML,
XHTML, or the markup language of choice, or it can be shipped directly to a device running a browser
or another applica
tion that can extract the data from XML and display it to a user. Because the back
-
end
processing of the data is all done independently of the ultimate display format, this service can be used
from almost any device that can communicate over an HTTP connec
tion, such as a modem
-
enabled
Palm, Pocket PC, or a WAP or i
-
mode phone.

This or any XML data could also be transferred to or accessed from another company’s
database using the ADO.NET (Active Data Objects) framework, which provides
platform interoperabil
ity
and scalable data access.

Because XML is the format for transmitting data, any application that can
read the XML format can process data. In fact, the receiving component need not be an ADO.NET
component at all. It might be any application running on
any platform.


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Goals and Objectives

To successful construct a highly customizable, dynamically scalable, distributed, and robust
web application. More specifically the development of an XML based business
-
to
-
business web
application that acts as an inte
rmediary between two databases. Completion May 2002.

To document and design the application using a software development process, for example,
the Rational Unified Process. Completion December 2001.

To successfully demonstrate the software development pr
ocess from the design to the
implementation phases. Completion December 2001.



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Overall Approach


We will be developing a web application that acts as an intermediary between two databases.
The application will allow a user to select source data and tra
nsfer it to a number of destination
databases. The application will consist of two processes: configurations and transformations.


The configuration process is the main user driven process. The user selects a source
database. This database will contain

the data that the user wishes to acquire. Connectivity and access
configurations must be set and tested prior to completion of this process. The user then must select
one to many destination database(s). These databases provide a source for the acquire
d data.
Connectivity and access configurations must once again be set and tested prior to completion. The
user then must select mapping options for the transformation process. One such option would include a
direct map from the source to destination dat
abase and field. Another option might include string
manipulations and simple calculations prior to mapping. This process will be determined at a later time.
The configuration process is diagrammed below.


FIGURE 2 CONFIGURATION PROCESS



The transform
ation process is the main system driven process. The system will take the
configurations specified by the user and perform the actual transformations on the data.
Transformations will be sent to a script interpreter that will take data from the source,
apply the
WEB BASED DATA TRANSFORMATION USING XML, .NET FRAM
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transformations, and return the string. This string will be then sent to a connectivity sub
-
application that
will move the data to the destination databases. The transformation process is diagramed below.


FIGURE 1.2 TRANSFORMATION PROCESS

The

application will use a number of introductory technologies. The .NET studio (a web
developing platform introduced earlier this year by Microsoft) will be used as the main programming
environment. Database communication will be established using ADO.NET
(a database connectivity
portion of the .NET studio). ADO.NET uses the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) to communicate
with the databases. The actual transformation process will be done using the extensible markup
language (XML).


The configuration p
rocess will be developed as a thin client downloaded via the World Wide
Web. The transformation process will be developed server side using a standard Web Server. The
interpreter and connectivity sub
-
application will be written in a language determined l
ater in
development.


The system overview is diagrammed below.

WEB BASED DATA TRANSFORMATION USING XML, .NET FRAM
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FIGURE 3 SYSTEM OVERVIEW




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Software and Hardware required

We will be developing a highly customizable and dynamic web application using the .NET
framework. This requires setting up the Mic
rosoft Internet Information Server (IIS) to process the Active
Sever Pages (ASP) and any other applicable code. In addition, the XML language and the SOAP
protocol will be highly utilized along with HTTP. The majority of code will be written using the Mic
rosoft
Visual Studio Developer Kit. A simple text editor, or a XML specific editor, such as XML Spy, could also
be used for writing XML and related documents. Also, we could also develop different DTDs based on
the type of device that is reading the data

for even higher degree of customization. Along the same
lines, we could provide a method (DTD) or schema that allows the user of any device to specify, or filter,
the content that they want to view.



In addition, the Microsoft Mobile Internet Toolkit
(MMIT) will be deployed.
The MMIT contains
server side technology that enables the ASP.NET framework to deliver content to a wide variety of
mobile devices. This allows our application to be viewed over wireless sources and displayed in many
formats includ
ing WML and cHTML for cell phones, HTML pagers, and PDA’s like the Pocket PC.
The
.NET framework is language neutral. It only currently supports
C++, C#, JAVA, and Visual Basic.
However, as shown in Figure 2, 3
rd

party vendors can add other languages and s
ervices to the .NET
framework. For this reason, the programming language of choice will come after more thorough research is
conducted. Additionally, a sample database will be used to exploit the customization and dynamically
scalable capabilities of ou
r web application. The database will either be an Oracle or Microsoft SQL Server.



Figure 4: Other vendors can build software to that integrate with the .NET architecture


WEB BASED DATA TRANSFORMATION USING XML, .NET FRAM
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Costs


The main costs of this project involve time and money. Since there is
a limited amount of time
for research, coding, debugging, and deployment this is obviously a major factor. In addition, cost will
also be a major factor. Our costs can vary greatly based on the exact type of software and hardware we
use. The Beta 2 relea
se of ASP.NET framework is currently free, as is the MMIT. However, the Visual
Studio Developer Kit (VSDK) for .NET, which is also in beta version, is not currently free. The beta
version cost is only around $10, but it is unknown how much the final relea
se version will cost. While
XML can be programmed with any text editor or even with the VSDK, a XML specific editor might be
worth the money to buy. XML Spy, a leading XML editor, costs $199. In addition, if any 3
rd

party
software or services are used to

enhance the .NET framework, as in Figure 2, the majority of these
products will have to be bought or licensed. The prices and features for the database software greatly
vary in range, and will be further evaluated.


Our hardware costs will be kept to a m
inimum at this time. While it may be ideal to buy a server
or another home computer to act as only a server, this is not very prudent due to the costs involved.
Since you can run a web server from a PC, it is also not necessary to buy a separate computer.
In
addition, any of the applicable databases can also be run from a home computer once the proper
software is installed. Since our application is web
-
based, a constant, secure, and fast connection to the
Internet is needed. A basic digital subscriber line
, which could be used, is currently around $50 a month.
Along those same lines, a specific domain name could be used. Such a name will cost anywhere from
around $8 to $35 monthly.



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References

ASP.Net Overview.

Retrieved August 10, 2001, from
http://www.aspng.com/aspng/overview.aspx
.

Microsofts ASP.NET Homepage
. Retrieved August 10, 2001, from
http://www.asp.net
.

.NET Framework Overview.
Retrieved August 10,
2001, from
http://www.gotdotnet.com
.

UDDI Specifications
. Retrieved August 10, 2001, from
http://www.uddi.org/specification.html
.

XML Tutorial
. Retrieved Au
gust 10, 2001, from
http://www.w3schools.com/xml
.


Clark, Jason. All About .NET.
The Code Project.

Retrieved August 10, 2001, from
http://www
.codeproject.com/dotnet/allaboutnet.asp
.


Fox, Dan. Understanding J2EE and .NET.
INFORMIT.COM
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Lee, Wei Meng. Applying XML Schema to XML Documents.
XMLMAG.COM.

Retrieved August 10,
2001 from
http://www.xmlmag.com/upload/free/features/xml/2001/11nov01/wm0111/wm0111.asp
.


McTainsh, John.
Simple ADO.NET Database Read, Insert, Update and Delete using C#.

The Code
Project.

Retrieved August 10, 2001, from
http://www.codeproject.com/dotnet/simpledbreadwrite.asp
.


Stiver, Mark. Scribner, Kenn. .NET Web Services and SOAP, from the b
ook
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Wahlin, Dan. .NET XML Classes from Web Services:
Serialize and deserialize complex object types to
and from SOAP messages to exchange them easily among distributed systems.
XMLMAG.COM.

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st 10, 2001, from
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.












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