Programming Amazon Web Services: S3, EC2, SQS, FPS, and SimpleDB

Programming Amazon Web Services: S3, EC2, SQS, FPS, and SimpleDB
James Murty
25 Mar 2008
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Product Description Building on the success of its storefront and fulfillment services, Amazon now allows businesses to "rent" computing power, data storage and bandwidth on its vast network platform. This book demonstrates how developers working with small- to mid-sized companies can take advantage of Amazon Web Services (AWS) such as the Simple Storage Service (S3), Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Simple Queue Service (SQS), Flexible Payments Service (FPS), and SimpleDB to build web-scale bus

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  1. Editorial Reviews
  2. Customer Reviews

Customer Reviews

Jessy Houle said
As mentioned in other reviews of this book, there are a lot of Ruby examples. If this book were completely written using Java or C#, this would have been a 4-5 star book. If nothing else, include examples with other languages as well.

Sundar Raman said
Excellent resource, but a bit droll. The content is laid out well, there are plenty of (working) examples, and there's pretty much no fluff to the book at all (in contrast to many O'Reilly books which add a fair amount of humor and distraction).
My chief worry when I received the book was that the title on the spine said "Programming Amazon Web Servcies [sic]". Yes, really the spine has a typo! The cover page does *not* have the typo. Obviously I was worried that the content might have similar brazen errors. But so far not so.
I'd recommend this book for anyone who needs an EC2/S3/AWS reference.

Daniel McKinnon said
'Programming Amazon Web Services: S3, EC2, SQS, FPS, and SimpleDB' is a good resource for anyone that is using the Amazon suite of web products and need to learn more about how to get the most out of these powerful set of web 2.0 tools.

For anyone that doesn't know what these tools are, here's a quick one-liner about each:

S3 - online storage to store and retrieve data

EC2 - online computing to be able to run jobs on a farm of machines

SQS - web messaging infrastructure for computer-computer communication

FPS - flexible payment system for moving money online

SimpleDB - store and retrieve datasets online

I like the content of this book and feel that it plays an important part in this niche market but my major qualm is that the code is written solely in Ruby in this book. While that might appeal to a certain market, to only have this communication in Ruby and/or not use a more traditional language of the day I feel is a major mistake. For this reason alone I knock a star off but still recommend it to anyone looking to learn or use these incredibly cool technologies provided by amazon.


Felix Sheng said
This is a good overview of the suite of services that comprise Amazon Web Services (AWS), I'd have given it a 3.5 star rating if I could. It talks about all of them, but it spends the bulk of its time, very reasonably, discussing S3 (the persistent storage system) and EC2 (the compute cloud - basically Amazon's Rackspace in the clouds) - each getting about 100 pages devoted to it.

As others have noted it is out of date - but any book would have the same problem due to the moving target that AWS is. The biggest news is that EC2 is going to be getting persistent storage, which I believe will change the game completely when it is rolled out to the public. Instead of needing some elaborate connection with S3, now instances will behave much more like a typical physical machine with real disk drive. The book, on the other hand, provides almost no real advice on how to deal with the problem of non-persistence of EC2's current storage mechanism. This is a signifcant problem that everyone will have to deal with and glossing over it is a failing of the book.

This is also a Ruby book, which I found fairly annoying. Nowhere in the description does it suggest that it is done in Ruby. And while Ruby certainly is trendy these days, the actual number of Ruby developers is small - it gets undue weight in computer texts. At the end of the day, though, it generally provides the actual request strings and XML requests and responses for non-ruby folk to come to their own conclusions.

This is a worthwhile book to get if you're interested in quickly getting a good and broad idea on how to work with AWS. It will give a good foundation to get more out of the documentation and forums found on Amazon's AWS site itself.

Thomas J. Quinlan said
I'd have rated this a 4.5 if I could have.

This is an excellent book covering a very new subject matter. My only major complaint is that it seems a little rushed - I've found several typos, and even one section where a couple of lines of (important for that section) code are missing. (I figured out what was missing as I'm sure most people will.)

Also, the book is out of date. However, that is not the fault of the author or the publisher! It is that Amazon's service changes so quickly. The author and the publisher have made every attempt to mention the most recent changes to the service as of the time of writing, including pointing to places on the web to find out more information.

The material it covers is spot on. It goes through the different services that Amazon offers - including their storage, elastic computing, payment systems, and database systems. It clearly explains the disadvantages and advantages of each system, and provides -useful- code examples (in ruby) of how one can take advantage of the services Amazon provides. (There are examples in other languages, like Python, that the author makes available on the book's website.) Each section is devoted to a service for the most part, and the book is very readable.

As I said, I'd have rated this book a 4.5 if I could have. Outside of the errors due to rushing, it's quite useful and quite informative. The code is easy to follow, and I've found it very handy for working with the Amazon Web Services.

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