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Report on Mobile Application for Megamax Corporation

Introduction to web services

The Megamax Corporation sell widgets to clients across the UK as well as worldwide. They sell widgets both through the web and through a mobile sales force.

The mobile sales force are given broad responsibility for:

  • taking orders from existing clients
  • recruiting new clients
  • negotiating deals with new and existing customers.

You have been approached by a Megamax executive, Mike, to present a short three-part report on the possibility of providing the Megamax mobile sales team with a mobile application to assist them with orders. It is envisaged that the application would provide for the real-time orders of widgets from a mobile device connected via the internet direct to the company's servers. Megamax are proposing that such a web service would be accessed by sales staff from remote locations using a client on any type of connected device, such as a tablet, a laptop or a smartphone. Sales data would then be submitted direct from the client and in real-time to the company servers. Mike believes that it is this flexibility that could fine-tune the Megamax business model in terms of response to orders, stock levels and delivery times.

When the web service is fully developed, the view is that it will facilitate the submission of form data from sales staff about clients and their orders to the company server in a secure fashion from remote locations. When received by the company servers, it is envisaged that the data will then be processed by a simple web service.

This TMA will take the form of a report presented to Megamax executive, Mike. Mike would like the report to be brief, but to cover an introduction to web services. Mike would also like you to address the concerns he has about security for a remote client accessing the Megamax servers over the Internet.

Finally, you are asked to provide a simple explanation of the NetBeans environment and how simple web services can be developed using the IDE.

Your report for the Megamax web service will therefore be structured in three distinct parts, as shown in the following pages.

Note that any diagrams you use won’t count towards the total word count.

In this part write a short report for Mike addressing the following questions:

What do you understand by the term web service? What are the fundamental differences between the SOAP and REST approaches? Given the scenario provided, what are the advantages and disadvantages of choosing a RESTful approach over that of SOAP for MegaMax? Consider if the choice affects Megamax in terms of aspects such as security, capacity, connectivity, cost of production and maintenance etc. Which approach do you personally think MegaMax should adopt and why?

Mike at Megamax has expressed some concern about the security of company and customer data exchanged from a remote client in the hands of a salesperson to the company servers via the internet. You have been asked to outline how security concerns could be addressed so that the company can be confident that data cannot be accessed even if devices are lost, for example, or the application is copied. Your report should also address security in terms of secure transmission of data.

  • Part 1 – Marks will be awarded for:
    • Your description of what you understand by the term web service.
    • Your contrast of the different approaches to web services (SOAP and REST) and your explanation of the advantages and disadvantages of each approach for MegaMax’s applications and the exact consequences the choice implies for aspects such as security etc.

  • Part 2 – Marks will be awarded for:
    • Your understanding of the security risks that this project might entail in terms of authentication, authorisation and confidentiality for a web service being used from a remote location.
    • Your report should also address security in terms of secure protocols.

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