Reply to post: Piggy in the middle

Hell desk to user: 'I know you're wrong. I wrote the software. And the protocol it runs on'


Piggy in the middle

I once had the pleasure of being one of the first to use a UK mobile operator's location API for locating handsets. They assured me that they had several other customers happily using the API and I set to work coding against the interface; it was SOAP with a WSDL interface definition. When I ran my client it retrieved the WSDL but always failed to connect to the SOAP server and after a little debugging I found that the server location embedded in the WSDL wasn't valid - it looked like a token rather than a fully-qualified hostname or IP address. I called the operator and they assured me that their other users hadn't had a problem using the API. But it made no sense - how was my SOAP client meant to access a server it didn't have an address for? So I phoned them again, explained again and again they insisted that it was a problem at my end. I knew it wasn't and refused to give up. Eventually they advised me to talk to their supplier in Canada which I did - the supplier said "Yeah, that token is there to allow their system to do load-balancing - it should get replaced with a server address as it's being served out to you. I've been telling them for weeks that it's not set up right but they wont fix it."

I called the operator again and asked them for the address of the SOAP server. I then wrote a proxy that mediated between my client and their system and when it saw the token come back it swapped in the proper address - all good.

I understand their new location API service wasn't very successful... I wonder why...

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