Running on the Web

Web Services

Web Services is the exchange of information between applications using the standard Web protocol for browsers. As a consumer, you can obtain information provided on the Web such as the weather conditions and access information provided by other Web-based applications. As a service provider, you can allow other applications to access your information and accept requests for information from other applications. With PxPlus, you can be a consumer of Web services, a provider of services or both.

Information on the processing of Web requests and using the PxPlus utility "*plus/web/request" for Submitting a Web Request is provided below.

Web Requests

Web messages (HTTP/HTTPS) have two main components: a header that describes the message and a body that contains the message. The header consists of simple concise text lines of Keyword: Value and primarily defines content size, type, source and destination.

The processing of Web requests begins with a URL:

http://target-system-name/target...?parameters

Where:

target can be either a physical file or a process/program.

The two basic types of requests are:

GET Request

Requests the contents of a target from the server

POST Request

Sends some data (i.e. a form) to a specific target on the server

Example:

The following is an example of a Web request:

URL:

http://www.pvxplus.com/pgsrvr.pvp?pg=products

A request is sent to the system www.pvxplus.com.

The request sent is a GET of the file pgsrvr.pvp.

The server assesses the request to determine the action that is needed, i.e. whether it must send back the contents of the file or run the file and return its results. In this example, the .pvp tells the server to run the file.

When running the file, the target will be passed the parameters pg=products.

The result of what the program outputs is displayed by the browser.

REST

REST (Representational State Transfer) is a set of commonly used design principles for Web services that adheres to the following fundamental design requirements:

The criteria behind using REST design is to avoid using parameters. REST requests should expose a directory-like structure in URI (Uniform Resource Identifier).

Example:

Below is an example of how this can be done via the Apache Web Server by configuring aliases to map:

http://yoursite.com/services/qry.pxp?lib=xxx&panel=yyy&type=HTML

to

http://yoursite.com/services/query/xxx/yyy/html

PxPlus Web Services are designed to conform to the REST design principles.

Submitting a Web Request

PxPlus provides the following utility for submitting a request with data and returning the result:

"*plus/web/request"

The *plus/web/request utility supports secure (HTTPS://) and unsecure (HTTP://) requests. It uses HTTP version 1.1 protocol to make Web requests and receive responses. If necessary, *plus/web/request can be forced to use HTTP version 1.0 protocol by defining the global variable %web_request_http_ver$ as "1.0".

(Support for the use of HTTP version 1.1 protocol was added in PxPlus 2021.)

Note:
By default, the user agent used by *plus/web/request will be the same as if the request came from a Windows version of Google Chrome with the version of PxPlus appended to it. This user agent can be overridden with a preferred user agent by including a user agent header in the extrahdrs$ argument of a *plus/web/request call. See Calling Sequence below.

Example:

extrahdr$="User-Agent: MyApp/1.00.0000"

(Support for overriding the user agent was added in PxPlus 2021.)

The default request is a GET if no data is provided; otherwise, a POST is used. The following eight entry points for additional request types are available: GET, POST, DELETE, PUT, TRACE, OPTIONS, PATCH and HEAD. This utility also allows you to specify the content type, custom SSL certificate and additional headers.

Calling Sequence:

CALL"*plus/web/request", url$, postdata$, recvdata$, recvhdr$, mimetype$, certificate$, extrahdrs$, method$, timeout

Where:

 

url$

Specifies target server and if secure or non-secure

 

postdata$

Data to send to the server

 

recvdata$

String variable to receive response

 

recvhdr$

Header of response received

 

mimetype$

Optional content type of data

 

certificate$

Optional path of certificate, if needed

 

extrahdrs$

Optional additional headers to include on send

 

method$

HTTP request method

 

timeout

Timeout value (if not provided, defaults to 15 seconds)

(The timeout option was added in PxPlus 2020.)

The header describes the message and contains information about the transmission. The "*plus/web/request" utility includes the use of extra headers, which are typically used for authorization information, cookies and the From email name. Extra headers can also be used to include an if-modified-since request, which allows the Web service to send data if it has changed; otherwise, it will return an error 304.

UNIX/Linux provides the 'curl' command that allows you to make Web requests from a Command line. A typical 'curl' command line would look as follows:

curl https://instance_name.salesforce.com/services/data/v31.0/-H 'Authorization: Bearer sessionID' d client=123456 >Respfile

Compare this to using a *plus/web/request:

CALL "*plus/web/request",
"https://instance_name.salesforce.com/services/data/v31.0/","client=123456", Resp$,Hdr$,"","","Authorization: Bearer sessionID"

Web Server Configuration

To access PxPlus Web Services, a Web server must be operating and configured to run PxPlus programs. PxPlus Web Services can run on either the PxPlus EZWeb Server or the Apache Web Server.

PxPlus EZWeb Server

The PxPlus EZWeb Server handles Web Services by default without additional configuration. See EZWeb Server.

Apache Web Server

The Apache Web Server must first be configured to run PxPlus programs. See Apache Interface for instructions on configuring Apache.

The next step is to configure the Apache Web Server to handle PxPlus Web Services by adding the following lines to the httpd.conf file:

Note:
The path to PxPlus should be substituted with the actual path to PxPlus on the server.

#uncomment out this line
LoadModule rewrite_module modules/mod_rewrite.so

SetEnv TEMP /tmp
SetEnvIf Authorization "(.*)" HTTP_AUTHORIZATION=$1

Alias /services/rgraph/ "/pxplus/lib/_plus/inomads/add-ons/charts/rgraph/"
<Directory "/pxplus/lib/_plus/inomads/add-ons/charts/rgraph/">
Options Indexes FollowSymLinks
AllowOverride None
# Use line below for Apache 2.4 and later
     Require all granted
# Use next 3 lines below for Apache 2.2 and earlier
#   Order allow,deny
#   Allow from all
#   DirectoryIndex index.html
</Directory>

Alias /services/ "/pxplus/lib/_web/services/"
<Directory "/pxplus/lib/_web/services/">
Options Indexes FollowSymLinks
AllowOverride None
# Use line below for Apache 2.4 and later
     Require all granted
# Use next 3 lines below for Apache 2.2 and earlier
#   Order allow,deny
#   Allow from all
#   DirectoryIndex index.html
</Directory>

RewriteEngine On
RewriteRule "/do/([^/]+)/(.*)" "/services/do.pxp?id=$1&args=$2" [B,PT]

See Also

PxPlus Web Services