Web services and feeds have become a widely used form of adding depth to online applications. Both technologies provide additional content and functionality that can increase what any application can offer to users. Technology has even reached a point where you can create an application without dealing with any of the heavy lifting that is accompanied with business logic and understanding the domain of the application you intend to create.
Picture walking into a music store with the idea of starting your own rock band. Instead of making your own drums, guitars, and mics, you grab that nice guitar in the corner that everyone had their eyes on, the drum set upstairs, and a few mics because you know that the service providers that produced those products can create far better equipment than you could ever do. Web services and feeds provide the same functionality. They allow you to walk into a figurative music store, pick and choose services and content located around the world and produced by third-party companies that know far more about their domain than you have time for, and mash them all up to create a new product.
This chapter will cover two web service messaging techniques—REST and SOAP—as well as Zend_Rest and Zend_Soap. You will use Zend Framework to create the server and the clients to use the services. You will then cross into the realm of services. You'll look at what web services are, what services Zend Framework contains, and how you can use these services. The chapter closes with feeds and the Zend_Feed component, showing you how to create a feed, how to consume a feed, and how to use the feed content in a view.
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