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Balavardhan Reddy Narani

An Article on WebService

March 7 2009 , Written by Balavardhan Published on #ASP.Net

It is a Service which allows a site to expose programmatic functionality via the Internet. Web services can accept messages and optionally return replies to those messages.

Web Services can be invoked via HTTP-POST, HTTP-GET and the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP)

web services are saved in files with the extension of .asmx. Whenever the ASP.NET runtime receives a request for a file with an .asmx extension, the runtime dispatches the call to the web service handler. This mapping is established in the <httphandlers> section of the web.config files for the machine and individual applications.

Handlers are instances of classes that implement the System.Web.IHTTPHandler interface. The IHTTPHandler interface defines two methods, IsReusable and ProcessRequest. The IsReusable method allows an instance of IHTTPHandler to indicate whether it can be recycled and used for another request. The ProcessRequest method takes an HttpContext object as a parameter and is where the developer of a HTTP handler begins to do his work. A particular handler ultimately services inbound requests that are received by the ASP.NET runtime. After a handler is developed, it is configured in the config.web file of the application. A typical config.web file for a machine will have lines similar to the ones below:

< add verb="*" path="*.asmx" type="System.Web.Services.Protocols.WebServiceHandlerFactory, System.Web.Services" validate="false" />

<httphandlers>section states that for all requests (HTTP verbs such as GET, POST, PUT), if the file being requested has the extension of .asmx, create an instance of the WebServiceHandlerFactory, which lives in the System.Web.Services.dll assembly. If the administrator wanted this handler to only accept the GET verb, he would change the verb property to verb="Get".

Handlers accept requests and produce a response. When the HTTP runtime sees a request for a file with the extension of .aspx the handler that is registered to handle .aspx files is called. In the case of the default ASP.NET installation this handler will be System.Web.UI.PageHandlerFactory. This is the same way in which .asmx files are handled. For the default ASP.NET installation, web services are handled by System.Web.Services.Protocols.WebServiceHandlerFactory.

With this custom handler, ASP.NET is able to use reflection and dynamically create an HTML page describing the service's capabilities and methods. The generated HTML page also provides the user with a way in which to test the web methods within the service. Another advantage of ASP.NET is in publishing Web Service Definition Language (WSDL) contracts.

WSDL is an XML-based grammar for describing the capabilities of web services. WSDL allows a web service to be queried by potential consumers of your service - you can think of it as an XML-based type library made available via the web. For output to be generated, one must only make a HTTP request to the web service file passing in sdl in the querystring

SDL is an XML-based grammar for describing the capabilities of web services. SDL allows a web service to be queried by potential consumers of your service-you can think of it as an XML-based type-library made available via the web. For output to be generated, one must only make a HTTP request to the web service file passing in sdl in the querystring.

Writing a Web Service

Following is our first Web Service; it exposes two methods (Add and SayHello) as Web Services to be used by applications. This is a standard template for a Web Service. .NET Web Services use the .asmx extension. Note that a method exposed as a Web Service has the WebMethod attribute.


<%@ WebService language="C" class="FirstService" %>

using System;
using System.Web.Services;
using System.Xml.Serialization;

public class FirstService : WebService
public int Add(int a, int b)
return a + b;

public String SayHello()
return "Hello World";

To test a Web Service, it must be published. A Web Service can be published either on an intranet or the Internet. We will publish this Web Service on IIS running on a local machine.

Testing the Web Service

As we have just seen, writing Web Services is easy in the .NET Framework. Writing Web Service consumers is also easy in the .NET framework; however, it is a bit more involved. As said earlier, we will write two types of service consumers, one Web- and another Windows application-based consumer. Let's write our first Web Service consumer.

Web-Based Service Consumer

Write a Web-based consumer as given below. Call it WebApp.aspx. Note that it is an ASP.NET application.
Add Web Service as a web Reference to the application.

This application has two text fields that are used to get numbers from the user to be added. It has one button, Execute, that, when clicked, gets the Add and SayHello Web Services.


<%@ Page Language="C#" %>
<script runat="server">
void runSrvice_Click(Object sender, EventArgs e)
FirstService mySvc = new FirstService();
Label1.Text = mySvc.SayHello();
Label2.Text = mySvc.Add(Int32.Parse(txtNum1.Text),
<form runat="server">
First Number to Add :
<asp:TextBox id="txtNum1" runat="server" Width="43px">4</asp:TextBox>
Second Number To Add :
<asp:TextBox id="txtNum2" runat="server" Width="44px">5</asp:TextBox>
Web Service Result -
Hello world Service :
<asp:Label id="Label1" runat="server" Font-Underline="True">Label</asp:Label>
Add Service :
<asp:Label id="Label2" runat="server" Font-Underline="True">Label</asp:Label>
<asp:Button id="runSrvice" onclick="runSrvice_Click" runat="server" text="Execute"></asp:Button>


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