Web Services Essentials (O'Reilly XML)

Web Services Essentials (O'Reilly XML)
Ethan Cerami
01 Feb 2002
Purchase online

As a developer new to Web Services, how do you make sense of this emerging framework so you can start writing your own services today? This concise book gives programmers both a concrete introduction and a handy reference to XML Web Services, first by explaining the foundations of this new breed of distributed services, and then by demonstrating quick ways to create services with open-source Java tools.

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  1. Editorial Reviews
  2. Customer Reviews

Customer Reviews

Val said
Although an old book, this book explains very well web services. It has detailed explanations on XML-RPC, SOAP, WSDL and UDDI.
Make no mistake. The book is old and just like some other reviewers pointed out, some of the technologies have been replaced by newer ones. But once you understand how web services work, it's easier to adapt to the newer tools.
The author also has a tendency to add 'filler pages'. The last 50 pages are useless which is why I gave it only 4 stars.

Wendell Murray said
The O'Reilly series of books on web services, all based on outdated versions of the Apache SOAP (now Axis2) specification, are all very good and still valuable as a means of learning web services programming techniques.

The difficulty for beginners who are trying to learn SOAP or XML-RPC with these books is finding the appropriate jar files that match the SOAP specifications used for the code examples in the books. Using the current Axis2 or early Axis1 version jar files will not permit the examples or variants on them to work.

The needed jar files are still available in the archive section of the Apache website specifically at this URL: [...]. I used the last of the SOAP versions there version-2.3.1 which permits all the examples I tried in the various to work.

Most, if not all, of the other reviews here are from reviewers who bought the books when they were originally published around 2002.

The exposition in Programming Web Services with XML-RPC, Programming Web Services with SOAP and this book, Web Services Essentials, three books I bought used within the last year, i.e. in 2007, is quite good. Straightforward and accurate although obviously outdated in certain specifics, but nonetheless still an excellent introduction to web services.

My experience with books on software development and more generally on computers is that several books that cover the same topic should always be purchased because each provides a sufficiently different perspective on the topic that makes it much easier to master that material than would be the case with a single book, even if the single book were otherwise excellent. That recommendation applies to these three books. They cover more or less the same topic, but are even more valuable when taken as a whole.

I highly recommend any of the three, but emphasize the need to download the related (but now superseded) files from the Apache website so that the examples in the books will work correctly. If a reader does not do that, he or she will be condemned to much frustration and irritation.

Lee Bennett said
This is a well written overview for those that may have missed how Web Services rushed onto the scene earlier in the decade. Being 5 years old now, it is definitely out of date. I consider about 120 of 300 pages useful as an introduction to the subject to a developer who has been working in other technologies. It provides a good overview. The examples provided work well to illustrate the point presented. Keep in mind that the examples are outdated so skip liberally.
After reading/skimming this as an introduction, find a more current book for more hands on examples to work through in the technology you intend to use.

J. Brutto said
First of all, to clear up someone else's comment:
while the API samples, URLs, etc. in the book are all outdated but even beginners should be able to figure out the updates.

The only word of caution: it does NOT cover REST.

This book provides a wonderful set of core topics and values that are essential to understanding what is currently out there (at the time I'm writing this in close-to-mid 2007, anyway). Providing samples, history and general information on each topic covers allows this book to be a wonderful, thorough introduction to the world of WS.

Samples focused in Java and Perl help keep things simple, while there is more of a focus on the Java world. The APIs changed, but since the author references primarily open-source, it is easy to figure everything out.

I recommend this book at this time, but can definitely see it being completely out-dated by the same time next year.

As with many emerging technologies, however, I think this is a must have in order to better understand and follow the evolution of its realm. Since it provides pointers/references to pieces of the puzzle(s) even before its publishing, you can gain even more insight and possibly make some educated decisions as to where the future will take it.

Recommended for all, if for nothing else, as a general reference and "emerging history" lesson.

Prasad Reddy said
This book is based on obsolete specifications and older SOAP implementation which is not even available for download. The Apache SOAP is already a piece of junk and Apache recommends to use Apache Axis (which is not in the scope of this book). All other implementation examples such as XMethods and UDDI4J are also obsolete as well. The APIs are already deprecated and the code discussed does'nt make any sense.

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