Here’s a great little web service I came
across while looking for a way to improve an expenses tracking package
that I wrote a long time ago. I was thinking of ways to make the
package ‘multi-currency’ so that when a user enters in their expenses the
system would convert the amounts into the users payment currency.
Federal Reserve Bank of New York
has launched a pilot
web service that will allow
you to query the exchange rates on any particular day using a simple SOAP
call. You could use this service to enhance your expenses tracking
system by making on-demand calls to the webservice while the user enters
the data or, and probably the way I’d do it, create an agent to make a
daily call to the service to get the full list and then store it for a
set period of time. Both methods have their pros and cons, the on-demand
method may cause lots of requests to the service or may be thwarted by
corporate firewalls while the agents may have access through the firewall
but may end up pulling down data that will never be used.
You can get full details of the web
service at the site above, this includes the service’s WSDL which will
explains all the different methods of calling the service and also the
service endpoints that you need to connect to.
So what other uses could this have?
Well if you work in a financial institute you could pull down the exchange
rates for display on your corporate intranet or even write your own little
currency convertor but then again a call to Google with ‘100
EUR in USD‘ might be quicker.