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Understanding Web Services: XML, WSDL, SOAP, and UDDI Paperback – May 13 2002

3.4 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (May 13 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201750813
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201750812
  • Product Dimensions: 18.5 x 2.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 771 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,542,012 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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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

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
Eric Newcomer's "Understanding Web Services" provides for a solid theoretical overview into the world of the new web technologies, including XML, WSDL, SOAP and UDDI. For a newcomer into the field, this book is a good start to understanding to what these technologies are and what they can do for business.
Here are the topics that Newcomer addresses:
1. Introduction to Web Services (XML, WSDL, SOAP and UDDI)
2. XML - Describing Information
3. WSDL - Describing Web Services
4. SOAP - Accessing Web Services
5. UDDI - Registering Web Services
6. ebXML
7. Other Web Service technologies
8. How to Implement
Overall, this book is a great teaching and learning tool to the basics of web services. Newcomer does a fine job of describing the various technologies and trying to "dumb" down the technology to describe how it works. One of the great things about the book is the "margin" notes on each page that highlight the definitions and key concepts that he tries to highlight. This makes the book easy to follow along with and helps to reinforce the concepts. Overall, this is great for a textbook.
However, keep in mind that the subject is very technical so if you are not a techie there are parts where you WILL get lost. Overall though, you still come away with a good understanding of what these technologies are and how they can help your business.
Overall, Newcomer does a fine job of covering the various technologies and issues that deal with web services and how they can be applied to business. While the subject is technical and you may got buried in some parts the book's style is still easy to follow.
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Format: Paperback
In my role as a solutions architect, I find myself having to read vast quantities of technical material, much of which is sadly lacking in substance, diluted to the point of uselessness, biased in a particular technology (or vendor) direction, or simply just poorly written. Eric Newcomer's book is a refreshing change from much of the material I have had the misfortune to read lately - it is a well-written work that provides the reader with an excellent overview of Web Services and the use of the associated technologies. The book provides a well-balanced discussion of the various key technology areas (XML, WSDL, SOAP, UDDI), and includes many useful insights into the issues associated with these technologies and where the technologies are heading, based on current industry usage and standards formulation. The history of each technology area is discussed, providing the reader with useful background information. Attention is paid to the salient points, rather than getting bogged down in unnecessary details that might be readily obtained elsewhere. To this end, it is worth noting that a most pleasing feature of this book is the inclusion of a comprehensive bibliography, allowing the reader to readily identify sources of more detailed information on particular subject areas, if required (many of the references are freely available via the Internet).
As clearly stated in the introduction, the book is intended for IT professionals who need to understand Web Services, how they work, and (most importantly) what they are good for - the book is not intended to describe how to implement Web Services using a particular product offering from IONA (Eric Newcomer is the IONS CTO) or any other vendor.
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