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Understanding Web Services: XML, WSDL, SOAP, and UDDI [Paperback]

Eric Newcomer
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 13 2002 0201750813 978-0201750812 1
Introduces the main ideas and concepts behind core and extended Web services' technologies and provides developers with a primer for each of the major technologies that have emerged in this space. Softcover.

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Web services, the new way of stitching data and processing resources together to form elaborate, distributed applications, aren't like other software systems. They differ even from other architectures for distributed applications. In his fantastic Understanding Web Services, Eric Newcomer helps his readers figure out what Web services are all about. This book is better than any other book out there in helping readers come to grips with the terms, technologies, behaviors, and design requirements that define the Web services universe. It's remarkably light on code--Newcomer's logic appears to be that you should dig into the details of implementation only after you thoroughly understand the design concepts--and emphasizes definition and exposition of SOAP, UDDI, WSDL, and ebXML.

Newcomer's work looks and reads almost like a notebook, with succinct statements in the margin (for instance, "SOAP processors first have to check the mustUnderstand attribute, if any"), adjacent to paragraphs that go into greater depth. He's careful to call attention to differences among the relevant standards documents, and points out differences among implementations. Graphical learners may wish for more conceptual diagrams, as there aren't a lot of them here. Newcomer's prose is brilliant, though, and it's pretty easy to determine what he means. Perhaps best of all, Newcomer isn't cheap with his opinions and forecasts. It's helpful to read his informed feelings and predictions. --David Wall

Topics covered: The specifications, implementations, and popular trends that define the Web services movement. Conceptual coverage of Extensible Markup Language (XML), Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), Web Services Description Language (WSDL), and the Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI) protocol fills these pages. Emphasis is on how it all works rather than on how to program for it.

From the Inside Flap

I first encountered XML as an integration technology in early 1998 during a visit to KPN Telecom in the Netherlands. The company was asking for proposals to help it develop an enterprise integration architecture based on the hub and spoke model, using XML as the canonical message format that would tie together the company's thousands of systems and hundreds of programming languages. My employer at the time, Compaq (Digital), did not win the project, but the controversial idea of using XML in a data-independent integration layer stuck with me. Now Web services are fulfilling that promise for everyone.

I joined IONA in the fall of 1999 and among other things soon began chairing the Object Management Group submitter's team drafting the XML Value specification, mapping XML to CORBA. In early 2000, I got involved in the new effort Microsoft was leading to define a distributed computing protocol for the Internet: SOAP. Previous attempts to promote the CORBA protocol had failed by then, and the W3C's own attempt, HTTP-NG, had also fallen flat. But the idea of serializing XML over HTTP seemed to hold promise for a solution.

IONA formally joined the SOAP effort in March 2000, before IBM joined and put the effort on the map. I worked with Andrew Layman, David Turner, John Montgomery, and others at Microsoft to bring IONA into the picture as a SOAP supporter and, in fact, as the first J2EE vendor to support SOAP. IONA demonstrated Web services interoperability at several Microsoft events during that year. The Microsoft presenter would introduce its SOAP Toolkit and demonstrate interoperability with a COM server. Then the IONA presenter was called on to describe how the same SOAP interface could interoperate with a Java server.

After that, I organized IONA's initial participation at W3C, supported the establishment of the XML Protocols Working Group, helped write the group charter, and began representing IONA at the XML Protocols Working Group, and more recently, at the Web Services Architecture Working Group. IONA has supported the submission of SOAP to W3C, WSDL, SOAP with Attachments, and XKMS. One thing led to another, and I eventually took on the responsibility of delivering IONA's implementation of Web services integration technologies.

In October 2000, I represented IONA at the UDDI kick-off meeting. It was then that I realized the potential for Web services technologies for application integration inside the firewall. Why not use SOAP, UDDI, and WSDL for internal projects? Then you could use the same approach for integration, regardless of whether it's inside the company or across the Internet.

David Vaskevitch presented at the UDDI conference, and this reminded me of the 1995 chapter in The Future of Software that I coauthored for Digital Equipment Corporation. David was author of the Microsoft chapter in that same book. In the Digital chapter, "The Key to the Highway," Peter Conklin and I compared the potential power of software standards to the impact of standards on the automobile. Standardized parts enabled mass production, which revolutionized the industry and society. Today, software remains essentially a craft business, as automobiles were at the start of the twentieth century. Having widely adopted standards has remained elusive despite many attempts. We may be at the crossroads; Web services may finally do the trick.

I hope this book helps you understand what Web services are all about. If it serves as a decent introduction to the main ideas, concepts, and technologies, it will have done its job and find its place in the Web services community.


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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Good coverage, difficult read April 9 2004
I have been thrown into the web services technology without a parachute and this book has helped to put things into perspective. You are not going to sit down and write code from this book, but it does help to define all of the pieces of web services technology and get you started.
With that said, this was a difficult book to read because the writing style is very abrupt, does not flow, and reads like an old style academic textbook trying to impress and confuse the student. I've read more technical books that were easier to understand because they explain their subjects in more natural prose. I found myself frequently reading pages over one or more times.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent overview book on the data side of XML Jan. 12 2004
By ws__
This book is about the data side of XML as opposed to the document side. It is the first excellent (and mature) one I read so far. It gives a thorough introduction to all relevant subjects. Its chapters are often more helpful than an entire book devoted solely to the chapter topic. Especially helpful I found a lot of explanations for seemingly simple or trivial things that nobody else explained and I admittedly did not dare to ask.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good introductory book to Managers Dec 29 2003
Very nice book. I have been following some great technolgies over the last 10 years. With Web services, I was overwhelmed with the bundle of various APIs, tools, standards, specifications that emerged. This is a well written book for aspiring Web services enthusiasts. Almost all the chapters are covered in depth with high-level introductions to the technologies.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Must be a Programmer to Understand this book Nov. 13 2003
You must have a very good understanding of XML, WSDL, SOAP, AND UDDI and html code. The book explains everything from the point of view of a programmer/developer.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Introduction on Web services. Aug. 13 2003
An excellent book for any business or IT executive that really needs to understand the concepts and implications of Web services. For those who need to appreciate how this technology will impact their business environment and strategic direction, but are not about to sit down and start writing the code using .NET or Java !
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i'm very disappointed after reading the book. the contents were "OK" and explained technical details; however, it completely lacks why you would ever use web services, etc. so, if you are already using web services, this book might be for you. Nevertheless, if you are looking for answers what web services really are(e.g. when to use them, etc.), this book doesn't provide the answers. Save your money.
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4.0 out of 5 stars gives a very abstract veiw of things May 15 2003
By A Customer
I would like to learn more things in detail so i think this book is not meant for me. otherwise good for beginners who want to wade in these murky waters of web services.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Do you know what Web Services are? Me neither. May 4 2003
I read this book - sleeping a great deal through it, or daydreaming about nothing in particular. "Whoops I just 'read' 20 pages!" types of experiences were frequent with this one.
This is NOT to say the book does not explain Web Services, whatever those are. It MIGHT explain what Web Services are, but we're never really sure. It's sort of like Microsoft's spiel on Web Services - you know, how they are always talking about how GREAT Web Services are. Web Services are just wonderful. That is apparently all we need to know.
So, if you are looking for another book that describes in acronym-laden (not explained) detail how great Web Services are, without actually explaining WHAT they are then this book might be for you. There is a pretty picture of a peacock on the cover so that's nice.
P.S. For those interested to know what Web Services are, I'll save you money and tell you right away, since I just recently discovered the answer on my own: Web Services are an idea that involves everything being online, and not sitting on your desktop - that is on servers. Like files and folders for instance, software, video games, etc. - with Web Services it would all be online and you could 'lease' or 'rent' the stuff you needed when you needed it and you would get it for a certain amount of time over the net, presumably downloaded onto your computer where you would use it feverishly until your time expired and it 'dissolved' into zeroes and one's. That's my thinking on the topic, and this book won't make you any wiser.
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