New News

While at the Over The Air conference just over a week ago, I got talking to a couple of people who were publicising the NHS web services (yes, they have web services). Anyway, I signed up for an account and decided to play around with the news API by building a very simple Mobile Safari application using Apple’s Dashcode tool.

If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch you can view it in Safari here:

There were a couple of things I wanted to do – such as adding a topic filter – but due to the fact that Dashcode is rather annoying, I haven’t been able to figure out how to do want I wanted to do …. so I didn’t. It’s just a proof of concept anyway, although I’m not entirely sure what concept I was trying to prove.

It wasn’t as straight forward as it looks though. Due to the fact that XML HTTP requests are restricted to the domain that the page was initially loaded from, I had to write a proxy (in Java) to proxy the request through to the NHS web service – I had to do this anyway because you have to pass your username and password to the NHS web service(s) as URL parameters (very secure!) and I didn’t want to put them directly into Javascript for obvious reasons!

Anyway, as soon as I recover from my first encounter with Dashcode I intend to play around with some of the new HTML 5 features that Safari supports such as client side storage etc, and further explore the NHS web services. Until then you have no excuse for not finding out when the next wave of pig flu is going to bring the nation to its knees!

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