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Web Services Essentials Ethan Cerami
Published by O'Reilly and Associates
304 pages
£ 20.95
Published: 28th February 2002
reviewed by Joel Smith
   in the December 2002 issue (pdf), (html)

This book is aimed at developers who are new to web services. It gives an overview of web services to provide an idea of their scope and extent, but also includes sample code to enable the reader to start writing their own services.

The book focuses on the essentials of web services, and covers four main technologies: XML-RPC, SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), WSDL (Web Services Description Language) and UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration). There is a high level overview of each technology, together with a description of the relevant API and a discussion of implementation options for each technology.

Web Services Essentials is structured into five sections. Part 1 is an introduction to web services. This gives a general overview of web services, the architecture, and the web service protocol stack. Each subsequent section deals with one of the main technologies covered.

All four sections start off with an Essentials chapter. This covers an overview of the specification, with numerous examples and sample code. The sections on SOAP and UDDI also cover the technologies in slightly more detail on a particular implementation.

The SOAP section has two chapters dealing with Apache SOAP as a specific implementation. Chapter 4 is `Apache SOAP Quick Start' and Chapter 5 is `Programming Apache SOAP'. Both of these are fairly self explanatory.

The UDDI section again has two chapters covering more detail of a practical implementation. Chapter 8 is `UDDI Inquiry API: Quick Reference' and Chapter 9 is `UDDI 4J'. This final chapter introduces UDDI4J, an open source Java implementation of UDDI. This gives a complete description of the UDDI4J API, and gives example code to illustrate how to search and publish UDDI data.

This book as a whole covers its material as you would expect. If you are wanting an introduction to creating web services, then it is a good place to start. It assumes a familiarity with Java and XML, and these are covered comprehensively elsewhere in the O'Reilly stable. Overall, it provides a solid introduction to web services.

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