When should you use web services and when should you use ObjectDataSource?

I am unclear as to when it would make sense to encapsulate your database queries in a web service and when you would choose to use an ObjectDataSource control?

I have an app that uses a web page to display data from an sql server 2005 database. Up until now I have been using an SqlDatasource with in-line sql queries. This is very direct and clear interms of binding and dta column names and feeding parameters into the datasource queries.

However, in my attempts to align with larger scale implementations I thought it was sensible to consider web services and data access layers. However, I am really not sure what factors decide the direction that should be taken?

(i)I am aware that sql server 2005 can publish certain queries as web services.
(ii)I am presently using the 'cache invalidation' capability to ensure my data is fresh whiclst limiting database queries. I am unsure if this capability is completely lost or not when moving away from an SqlDataSource?
(iii)As outlined, I have been using the SqlDataSource in my code and this allows a very direct link to the database data. What capabilities are lost when using-
   (a) Using an ObjectDataSource control object in place of the SqlDataSource control?
   (b) Using  web service to deliver the data instead of using the SqlDataSource comtrol?


3/16/2006 8:53:10 AM
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Hi Jim

I think you first need to understand that datasources such as SQLDatasource and web services are not of the same species.  Datasource objects supplied by APS.NET, and other languages, are interfaces to your own database.  A web service is basically a structured layer providing information from your database to other people's web sites.  For example we could use the Amazon web services to read their catalog of products and display them on our own web sites.

When interacting with your own SQL database from your own web pages ASP.NET 2.0 gives you two components -  1) SQLDatasource and 2) ObjectDataSource components.  There are others listed here http://www.asp.net/QuickStart/aspnet/doc/data/default.aspx .

SQLDatasource is the quick method component but ObjectDataSource the more flexible ( so flexible I can't get bits of it to work yet ).



3/16/2006 10:03:48 AM

So I think I should be using an ObjectDataSource in the longterm.

If we continue along this path, why it is useful or advisable for sql server 2005 to publish its queries as web services? It would seem preferable that you encompass your database sources as ObjectDataSources,(or similar), and that publishing them as webservgices is actually adding a level of abstraction that isn't really helpful in most cases.

3/16/2006 11:40:33 AM

I cannot comment on SQL Server 2005 functionality only to say that the Microsoft future internet strategy is very Web Services based whereby many computers are acting as providers of information to consumer web sites.  This is probably why SQL Server 2005 is designed so.

But most in house systems are still very solitary in their design (i.e. one client to one data server) with overnight feeds between them.  It all depends on what kind of application you are providing.  If it stores information that needs to be protected then making it accessible via web services is probably a bad policy.  If it's information that online customers need to access then a web service makes sense, particularly if you sell through many agents.

So it really all boils down to what is the minimum relationship you need between your client interface and your database. 



3/16/2006 5:53:37 PM

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