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Incorporating Web Services in Mobile Applications April 3, 2009 – San Francisco.

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Presentation on theme: "Incorporating Web Services in Mobile Applications April 3, 2009 – San Francisco."— Presentation transcript:

1 Incorporating Web Services in Mobile Applications April 3, 2009 – San Francisco

2 Slides available at

3 Disclaimer Web services and APIs of third parties referenced in this presentation are owned by the third parties and governed by their agreements. Before using any of the APIs or code referenced in this presentation review the terms of use by the third party providing the API. These slides are available under the Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License. You can blog, photograph, and share this information with others. Trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners.

4 Introduction - Convergence Available APIs are growing daily -Currently 1229 (and growing) APIs registered at Programmable Web Shifts in Consumer Expectations -Consumers now expect mobile devices to be connected to Internet Sites and Services Platform Development becoming easier and more standardized -iPhone SDK – Greater than 50,000 registered developers -Android – 5% of smart phone web usage in just three months 1 Seeing extension of enterprise applications to mobile devices 1 Techcrunch, March 24, 2009, Erick Schonfeld

5 Introduction Many Web Services and APIs were originally developed with server to server or server to browser in mind, not mobile applications Mobile platforms have their own set of challenges given: -Bandwidth -Memory and CPU Availability -Storage Capacity -Connectivity Options and Issues -Security -User Interaction and Display Web Service

6 Mobile Integration Challenges

7 API Developer Programs Is mobile access allowed? Other considerations: Call Limitations (# per second, total per hour/day, pricing above) Caching and Storage of Data Persistence of Data – Length of time stored Freshness of Data – Length of time before refreshing

8 Persistence Limitations Refreshing Requirements Caching and Storage Limits

9 Certification of your Mobile Application Some API sets require certification on top of distributor certification Determine Costs / Timeframe / Effort given a mobile app Prepare for testing – typically looking for error handling, API abuse Certification is a positive! Credibility, validation, marketing Keeps the neighborhood safe Application Verification

10 Mobile Techniques

11 Authentication vs. Authorization The Difference Authentication from the API provider – API Key Authorization from the user – authToken Session Key -By providing combination of API Key and authToken can then receive the session key -What is the shelf life of the session key Authorization will commonly affect users experience on mobile -eBay authentication and authorization screens

12 - Sample Flow Get an API key Request auth – auth.getMobileSession -Inputs: -username -authToken (md5(username + md5(password))) -api_key -api_sig Returns session key Make API call with sk (session key) Note: Try to keep credentials in one area to facilitate later changes

13 auth.getmobilesession auth.getmobilesession Result with new session key …&username=chudsonfm&authToken=4eb71…&api_sig=e93fb… chudsonfm 142c a4b72d b1da770a 0 username (Required) : The username. authToken (Required) : A 32-byte ASCII hexadecimal MD5 hash of the user's credentials. api_key (Required) : A API key. api_sig (Required) : A method signature.

14 – Call Execution Now we can make the call with our sk (session key) – user.getinfo Response …cc9dd chudsonfm en n 0 sk (Required) : The session key returned by auth.getMobileSession service. api_key (Required) : Your 32-character API key. api_sig (Required) : Your API method signature

15 Speed Traps Could be on wifi, 3G or 1G based signal and bandwidth Segment functionality / calls to prevent issues -Standard Apple test for approval is bandwidth usage when on cell network Polling -Create subset of calls and functionality when on slower bandwidth -Use notifications if possible -Modify polling interval based on need Recovery from intermittent or lost connections Test the use of APIs via public vendor API test tools on various bandwidths

16 Large Data Set Handling Decreasing returns for XML with large data sets and repetitive XML sections Even more the case with mobile devices given: -Communication challenges -Memory and processing limitations Minimize large data sets: -Use Just-in-Time (JIT) methodology -Ask for only those elements that you require -Ask for only those items that you require -Store what you can locally instead of requesting the same data

17 Response Processing Leverage Stream Parsing for mobile environments -Provides low memory overhead -But, requires more heavy lifting iPhone SDK based on stream parsing – NSXMLParser class Android has Xstream as the streaming parser Response Minimize to just what is needed Parse Stream Stream Element Based Sub parsing for specific items Display / Store Cache what will be reused (file, db, memory)

18 iPhone Parsing NSXMLParser delegate methods -5 key methods -Parser:didStartElement: -Parser:foundCharacters: -Parser:didEndElement: -Parser:didEndDocument: -Parser:parseErrorOccurred: MethodPurpose parser:didStartElement:Start of element tag occurred with attributes parser:foundCharacters:Element data located which may be all or some parser:didEndElement:End of element tag located parser:didEndDocument:End of XML document occurred parser:parseErrorOccurred:Unrecoverable parsing error occurred

19 Typical didStartElement, foundCharacters, and didEndElement

20 Parsing In long parsing streams provide feedback when available Example: Control4 My House -Home control from your iTouch/iPhone -During initial project load describes the sections being processed -Stores those items that will not change including house devices -But when providing current data, requests from server current state -Blends stored information with real time status information to provide display

21 Filtering -Types of Request Filtering -Selection criteria for narrowing data set returned -In general determine how efficient are the calls – reduce data waste -How much extra data, streaming, parsing is happening to access the data you use? How much data is being dropped on the floor? string int string int ItemConditionCodeType CurrencyCodeType … CountryCodeType string SortOrderCodeType string StoreSearchCodeType

22 Paging Provide paging functionality to users Not all calls have paging available Inform user of current location in set, easy access to next and previous if applicable Cache key information depending on -The user flow (detail page from results page) -The aging of the information (when does it expire)

23 Page Requests Specify the page that you are requesting How many items are on a page -Set the number of entries per page returned

24 List Paging Example Must cache of course the current page Remember though the total pages can change dynamically so check total pages after subsequent requests int

25 Display Caching of information for future retrieval and navigation -Be careful of data aging depending on what is being shown Execute web service parsing and display in background when possible to prevent UI blocking -example – eBay item description and images When parsing large data blocks, progress indications can be provided from element name (sections of the XML) Synchronous versus Asynchronous calls Use JIT and Information on Demand to maximize small layouts and minimize web service calls

26 Caching Options To minimize API round trips leverage caching and storage -Cache in memory -Cache in onboard light weight database or file -Off device persistence Memory Cache Memory Intensive Non-persistent Eg. Data key for last viewed item Onboard Space Limitations Persistence across sessions Eg. User Information Off Device Requires Connection Reuse across users Eg. Statistics, look up tables

27 Expanding Your Options

28 Blending Multiple Results What if you have to: -Blend results from multiple calls in the same API -Blend results from multiple API sources This could take the form of: -Extra item information on top of item details call Note this is simplified so does not show authentication and authorization checking, encoding, or the like. API ServiceMobile View Trigger Request 1 Mobile App Request 2 Result 1 Fulfill Result 2 Blend Outlet

29 Blending Multiple Services Multiple Services -Dependent on multiple services Example: -Weather request from additional WS based on zip code returned by latitude and longitude from a geoposition service API Service 1 Mobile View Trigger Request 1 Mobile App Request 2 Result 1 Fulfill Result 2 Blend Outlet API Service 2 Fulfill

30 Proxy Server Solution Provides layer of abstraction to consolidate or manage web services Proxy Server retrieves data on demand or on scheduled basis Allows for single consolidated call from the mobile device Processes data and returns subset or stores data for retrieval later Can also reduce API calls by caching similar results across user Allows for extending business logic layer Benefits Reduces round trips Custom Filtering Custom Business Logic Off device storage Cache duplicate requests Challenges Another layer to maintain Data aging Data synchronization

31 Proxy Flow Provides for single round trip for mobile application Provides easy maintenance of web services business logic layer Easily modify -Business logic -API credentials Proxy Server Mobile View Trigger Request Mobile App Request Result Outlet API Services Fulfill Request Result

32 Proxy Landscape Web Service Proxy Server

33 Designing your WS/API Destiny

34 Creating Web Services Try to serve lowest common device Balance flexibility with overhead in calls: -Filtering of criteria and paging of data functionality -Split out high traffic calls versus critical requests -Easy but secure authentication and authorization for both the consumer and application Benefit for mobile consumers, application programmers and web service providers -Decreased round trips -Increased efficiency of calls and applications -Better use of call volume restrictions -User experience improves

35 Wrap Up Provide user preference options that translate into better tuned API calls - number of items to show on a page as an example This will translate to data efficiency, fewer callers and greater use of data retrieved Minimize the number of trips, combine in single calls when possible Leverage caching and data storage when allowed Balance data granularity with length of returns for parsing Final thought to ponder The mobile device that is typically serving as a web service client could in the now or future be a web service provider…

36 Thank you Slides available at: Chuck Hudson aduci

37 Appendix A - Resources API / Web Service Online Catalogues -Programmable Web -Web Service List

38 Appendix B – Code Resources -iPhone URL Connections - /Tasks/UsingNSURLConnection.html /Tasks/UsingNSURLConnection.html -iPhone Rest Wrapper -i -iPhone XML Parsing – Cocoa Stream Parser - rsing.html rsing.html -SOAP with iPhone examples - services/ services/ - -Façade Server landscape – OREILLY – Windows platform - -Connecting to Web Services – Sean Sullivan -

39 Appendix C - Efficient XML Interchange (EXI) W3C Working Draft 19 September EXI is a very compact representation for the Extensible Markup Language (XML) Information Set that is intended to simultaneously optimize performance and the utilization of computational resources. Components of XML Complexity 1. size 2. total number of elements 3. number of unique elements 4. tree-height (nesting) 5. number of unique external references 6. total number of attributes 7. number of unique attributes 8. regularity, or "self-similarity"

40 Facebook -Notice the session key expiration - Oauth MPOAuthMobile – compiled in project library - Karl Adam - Appendix D - Other Auth Examples

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