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  1. #1
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    XML, HTTPS, and Access (oh my) (all)

    I know so little about these topics, that I'm not even sure how to form this question!

    I have an opportunity that hinges on my being able to communicate to a host over the internet. The tech specs for this contain these 2 paragraphs, which I think pretty well summarizes what is needed. Note that a "DPP" would be me in this situation.

    "The Interface utilizes Request Files and Response Files to communicate between a DPP existing system and the Database. The Request file is initiated by the DPP system and transmitted using a standard transmission protocol (refer to relevant section in this document) to the Interface application. The Request File is processed by the Interface and Database applications to produce a Response File. The Response File is transmitted to the originating DPP system using the standard transmission protocol."

    and then this:
    "The data transmission protocol used for the Interface is:
     Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) - The secure hypertext transfer protocol (HTTPS) is a communications protocol designed to transfer encrypted information between computers over the World Wide Web. HTTPS is http using a Secure Socket Layer (SSL). A secure socket layer is an encryption protocol invoked on a Web server that uses HTTPS."


    As I read it, this would seem to indicate that I must first create a file with the necessary information. Somehow submit this file. Then wait for a return file (and somehow know it has been received). These files contain XML code, the structure of which is detailed in the tech specs.

    My first question is, can this be done from Access? Secondly (if #1 is yes), where do I go to learn how to do it?
    Mark Liquorman
    See my website for Tips & Downloads and for my Liquorman Utilities.

  2. #2
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    Re: XML, HTTPS, and Access (oh my) (all)

    This reads like a government spec! <img src=/S/crazy.gif border=0 alt=crazy width=15 height=15>

    Access 2002 has improved support for XML over what was provided in 2000, however, this sounds more like a web-based interface concept. You can certainly transmit a file from Access, but the concept of creating and transmitting a Request file and then receiving back a Response file suggests something more than a simple database application.
    Charlotte

  3. #3
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    Re: XML, HTTPS, and Access (oh my) (all)

    Not so crazy, it essentially is a government spec. Or at least specs written by the contractor for a government database. The request file serves a couple of purposes. In the primary instance, the request file asks whether/not there is information on file for a specific person. The reponse file details the results. Another instance would use the request file to submit info on a person to be included in the state database.

    If need be, I can easily enough create a file and include the necessary lines of XML code manually. But I don't know how to transmit the file. And I don't really know/understand if I am actually sending the file itself or really sending the individual lines.
    Mark Liquorman
    See my website for Tips & Downloads and for my Liquorman Utilities.

  4. #4
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    Re: XML, HTTPS, and Access (oh my) (all)

    Doesn't the spec tell you that? It sounds to me like they are expecting a file. If they're asking for XML specifically, then it sounds like they expect an XML file structured in some compatible way. Do they give you specifications on the field format to submit the request? Never mind that last question, I just reread an earlier post that answered it.

    Access has several ways of generating XML files, including persisting a recordset to XML, which creates an XML file with the structure of the underlying data. That might be the easiest way to create the XML file if it meets the specifications. Do they detail what they mean by "transmit"? Are you just shipping a file to a website through SSL, are you uploading it to something like an FTP site, or what? We do the latter in our applications, but I can't say that we've tried the winsock approach.
    Charlotte

  5. #5
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    Re: XML, HTTPS, and Access (oh my) (all)

    >>Do they detail what they mean by "transmit"? <<

    Only as specified in that 2nd paragraph, in which they talk about the HTTPS protocol. But I don't know anything about this. Right now, this seems to be my biggest hangup. Like I said, even if I didn't use Access to generate the XML code in the file, I could generate it manually (fair amount of work, but doable).
    Mark Liquorman
    See my website for Tips & Downloads and for my Liquorman Utilities.

  6. #6
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    Re: XML, HTTPS, and Access (oh my) (all)

    Mark,

    Encryption is not really a big deal from a developer's standpoint. The "serving" web host must have an encrpytion certificate (typically purchased from an organization like Verisign). The client's browser handles connecting to the server and transferring the file. The only potential headache is purchasing and setting up the certificate. I have not done this, but I understand it's not terribly difficult. Transferring a file using HTTPS should be just like normal HTTP transfer once the certificate is installed.

    I came across this article that seemed to lay things out pretty simply.

    Hope this helps!

  7. #7
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    Re: XML, HTTPS, and Access (oh my) (all)

    Thanks, I'll check out the article. Thing is, I know NOTHING about this at all! I was hoping to find some sample code that would show me how to submit the file and receive it. Once upon a time, in a galaxy far away (it was called DOS-land), I had to do a similar thing to get Medicaid re-imbursement authorizations. Fortunately, the processing company provided an interface program. All I had to do was create the submittal file, call the interface program, then keep checking to see when the response file was deposited on the disk. I was hoping to find a solution like that!
    Mark Liquorman
    See my website for Tips & Downloads and for my Liquorman Utilities.

  8. #8
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    Re: XML, HTTPS, and Access (oh my) (all)

    Unfortunately, I have not done this from within Access. However I have a few thoughts that might help point you in the right direction.

    This seems like it will be an appropriate job for the Microsoft Internet Transfer Control (Msinet.ocx - InetCtlsObjects). There is an inet class that several methods for retrieving data. If that doesn't do the trick, you might also check out the Microsoft HTML Object library (MSHTML.tlb). It has even more objects related to almost every aspect of HTML and HTTP in general.

    Sorry I couldn't offer more specific help

  9. #9
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    Re: XML, HTTPS, and Access (oh my) (all)

    Hi Mark,
    I am embarking on a similar project and found your 2003 post. How did your project turn out? Did you find a way to convert data to XML and upload it via the web? Does Access 2003 do anything to help the situation? And, lastly, did you find any good resources on the topic? Any direction would be helpful as I know nothing about this but am willing to roll up the sleeves to learn and implement.
    Thanks!
    Dashiell

  10. #10
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    Re: XML, HTTPS, and Access (oh my) (all)

    Unfortunately the project died before I could get any experience.
    Mark Liquorman
    See my website for Tips & Downloads and for my Liquorman Utilities.

  11. #11
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    Re: XML, HTTPS, and Access (oh my) (all)

    Hi Charlotte,
    I dusted this post off as it pertains to a project I'm working on. I need to capture data from a query and transmit it in XML format to a web server. I don't have any experience in XML in an Access environment (I'm still a v2000 user but would upgrade). What type of XML tools are provided in v2003? Are there any books/documents/sites that might help me with this or that will educate me? Do you have a sample app that performs something similar that you could share? Any direction would be appreciated.
    Thanks!
    Dashiell

  12. #12
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    Re: XML, HTTPS, and Access (oh my) (all)

    What exactly do you mean by xml format? Are you talking about vanilla xml only (structured data) or did you want to include some kind of formatting? And when you say "transfer it to a web server", what do you mean? Are you trying to display the data or are you putting a file there for retrieval? Access 2003 has more built-in xml capability than any preceding version, although even in Access 2002, you have the option of XML as an export file type.
    Charlotte

  13. #13
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    Re: XML, HTTPS, and Access (oh my) (all)

    Very vanilla format (no sprinkles) and the transfer is for retrieval.

  14. #14
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    Re: XML, HTTPS, and Access (oh my) (all)

    Well, then a simple export to an xml filetype will do it. Is this something you want to do manually or were you looking for a way to do it in code?
    Charlotte

  15. #15
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    Re: XML, HTTPS, and Access (oh my) (all)

    I need to transmit an XML 3.0 file using SSL protocol and am planning on using code.
    Thanks for your help Charlotte.

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