MAPI: towards the integrated exploitation of bioinformatics Web Services.
Bioinformatics is commonly featured as a well assorted list of available web resources. Although diversity of services is positive in general, the proliferation of tools, their dispersion and heterogeneity complicate the integrated exploitation of such data processing capacity. To facilitate the construction of software clients and make integrated use of this variety of tools, we present a modular programmatic application interface (MAPI) that provides the necessary functionality for uniform representation of Web Services metadata descriptors including their management and invocation protocols of the services which they represent. This document describes the main functionality of the framework and how it can be used to facilitate the deployment of new software under a unified structure of bioinformatics Web Services. A notable feature of MAPI is the modular organization of the functionality into different modules associated with specific tasks. This means that only the modules needed for the client have to be installed, and that the module functionality can be extended without the need for re-writing the software client. The potential utility and versatility of the software library has been demonstrated by the implementation of several currently available clients that cover different aspects of integrated data processing, ranging from service discovery to service invocation with advanced features such as workflows composition and asynchronous services calls to multiple types of Web Services including those registered in repositories (e.g. GRID-based, SOAP, BioMOBY, R-bioconductor, and others).