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Concept: ACHeck21 XML Query Language

Bret Hillbun -

Introduction

Many of the collection entities in the web services provide query operations. These queries are contained in "untyped" XML strings inside of the service request. By untyped, we mean that the internal structure of these queries is not specified in the web service description (SOAP). This structure allows ACHeck21® to enhance the queries without invalidating any proxy stubs generated from the web service’s WSDL but requires the query to be URL escaped as to not interfere with the SOAP envelope.  This is not the case with REST calls.

Basic Principles

The Query element consists of a sequence of named entities, each corresponding to a particular search criterion. The name of the element is the name of the property to be searched (each query-able element contains a list of searchable properties). The content of the element specifies the structure of the search using 2 tags: the Operation tag that defines the type of search (see below), and one or more Value tags to define the values to search for. The interpretation and number of the Value tags depends on the specific Operation tag. These semantics are described in detail in the remainder of this document. 

There is no limit on the number of restrictions that can be placed on the search. In fact, the system will permit multiple, mutually-exclusive restrictions; the service will simply be an empty result set.

As of this writing, the only way to perform an OR-type search is by using an IN query. If the query cannot be sufficiently restricted using IN queries, then the calling application will need to perform post-processing on the returned values to get the desired results.

Operations

The following list describes the currently supported operations, and defines the number and interpretation of the Value tags. All operation names are case-insensitive. 

 


Equal
NotEqual
LessThan
LessThanOrEqual
GreaterThan
GreaterThanOrEqual

There must be a single Value that defines the comparison.  For example, the following defines a query that searches for items have an Amount equal to 0:

<Amount>
    <Operation>Equal</Operation>
    <Value>0</Value>
</Amount>

 


Between
There must be two Value tags that define the (inclusive) range of values to search. For example, the following element defines a query that searches for items have an Amount between 0 and 100:

<Amount>
    <Operation>Between</Operation>
    <Value>0</Value>
    <Value>100</Value>
</Amount>

 


IN
There must be one or more Value tags that define list of values to search. For example, the following element defines a query that searches for items have an Amount of 10, 20, or 30:

<Amount>
    <Operation>IN</Operation>
    <Value>10</Value>
    <Value>20</Value>
    <Value>30</Value>
</Amount>

 


Begins
There must be a single Value tags that gives the textual prefix to search for. For example, the following element defines a query that searches for items where the Name begins with "Mc":

<Name>
    <Operation>Begins</Operation>
    <Value>Mc</Value>
</Name>

 


Ends
There must be a single Value tags that gives the textual suffix to search for. For example, the following element defines a query that searches for items where the Name ends with "son"

<Name>
    <Operation>Ends</Operation>
    <Value>son</Value>
</Name>

 


Contains
There must be a single Value tags that gives the textual value to search for. For example, the following element defines a query that searches for items where the Name contains the text "donald":

<Name>
    <Operation>Contains</Operation>
    <Value>donald</Value>
</Name>

 


Like
This operation is the same as the SQL LIKE operator. The query must contain the % wildcard characters explicitly. There must be a single Value tag that gives the search pattern. For example, the following element defines a query that searches for items where the Name contains the text "donald" (this is the same as a Contains query):

<Name>
    <Operation>Like</Operation>
    <Value>%donald%</Value>
</Name>

 


Data value specifications

Most values are specified explicitly inside the Value tag in exactly the form that would be expected. There are a couple of things to be aware of. First, string values should not be enclosed in quotation marks. The services are able to determine the data types of the underlying system, and will add quotation marks as needed. Second, date values should be specified using the SQL standard format of yyyy-mm-dd. Failure to conform to this format will result in an error. Third, amount values should be specified without a dollar sign or any internal commas.

SOAP parameter format

When using SOAP services, the query will need to be encoded in HTML entity format according to the specification located at http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-xml/#syntax. If a language such as .NET is being employed, the automatically generated proxy stub will often times encode this for you behind the scenes. If you run into issues such as NotAuthorized or ParameterError this may be the result of the XML query interfering with the SOAP envelope and needs HTML entity encoding.

Query string format

When using the REST services, the query should be expressed in the request:

https://gateway.acheck21.com/GlobalGateway/REST/entity?actual_query

There are 2 formats for the actual query. First, it is possible to simply place the XML into the query string as the value of an item named "query". Alternately, and more HTTP-like, the query can be expressed as separate items on the query string, each element having the name of the item to be searched for, with the value of the item being the operation, followed by one or more values, all separated by commas. So, to search for batches for client 999999999 uploaded between 1-1-2008 and 1-31-2008, GET from the following URI:

/REST/batches/9999999999?UploadDate=between,2008-01-01,2008-01-31

To query for all batches uploaded in January 2008 with a status of Deleted, use the following URI:

/REST/batches/9999999999?UploadDate=between,2008-01-01,2008-01-31&Status=equal,Deleted
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