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Data Types in XML Web Services

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This lesson takes an in depth look at the various data types that XML Web Services are able to share with calling applications. After you have mastered building services that both send and receive basic data types, you will learn how XML Web Services allow you to work with custom data types and transmit not only these data types, but the definitions of these data types.

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This chapter is from the book

In this hour, you are going to learn about many of the data types that can be used in XML Web services. By the end of this hour you will be able to create services that accept and return primitive data types, arrays, and even classes.

In this hour we will discuss the following:

  • Primitive data types

  • Enumerations

  • Arrays

  • Handling classes

  • Passing arguments ByVal and ByRef

Data Types in .NET

XML Web services offer a wide variety of options when it comes to how you represent and store data, from simple types for storing numbers, such as decimals and integers, to more complex types, such as arrays and classes. Table 10.1 shows some of the common data types in the .NET framework and their Visual Basic (VB) and C# equivalent names.

Table 10.1 Data Types in .NET

Data Type

Visual Basic Name

C# Name

Boolean

Boolean

bool

Byte

Byte

byte

Char

Char

char

Date

Date

date

Decimal

Decimal

decimal

Double

Double

double

_Int32

Integer

int

_Int64

Long

long

_Int16

Short

short

Single

Single

float

String

String

String


The data types that you choose in your XML Web service applications will play a crucial part in their performance. Remember, you are building an application that may be handling hundreds or thousands of requests at any given time; the larger the size of the variables that you use, the more memory your application will require and the slower it will run. Also, remember that in the operation of your service the IIS server and the client applications will be sending data back and forth between each other, and by using the smallest data types possible, you reduce network traffic and increase the efficiency of your apps.

Table 10.2 shows the size of some of the more common data types available to you. From looking at this table, and the data ranges given, you can quickly determine what data best suits your needs. If, for example, you were building a function that returned the number of tickets available at a particular venue and seating in the theater was around three thousand people, you would know to avoid data types such as Decimal and Long.

Table 10.2 Data Type's Sizes and Range

Data Type

Bytes

Range

Boolean

4

True or False

Byte

1

0 to 255

Char

2

0 to 65535

Date

8

Jan 1, 1 CE to Dec 31, 9999

Decimal

12

79,288,162,154,264,337,593,543,950,335 with no decimal +/–E87.9,288,162,154,264,337,593,543,950,335 with decimal

Double

8

–1.79769313486231E308 to –4.94065645841247E-324 AND 4.94065645841247E-324 to –1.79769313486232E308

_Int32

4

–2,147,483,648 to –2,147,483,647

_Int64

8

–9,223,372,036,854,775,808 to 9,223,372,036,854,775,807

_Int16

2

–32,768 to 32,767

Single

4

–3.402823E38 to –1.401298E-45 OR 1.401298E-45 to –3.402823E38

String

10 + 2/Char

0 to 2 Billion Characters


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