Sunday, February 19, 2012

Review - Web Services: Concepts, Architectures and Applications

Just posted this review to Amazon on Web Services: Concepts, Architectures and Applications

First, it is a very conceptual book, which is not a problem in itself, but it's not a book for those who are looking to find code examples or how to architect your web service. Given that is was published in 2004, the value of this book currently is mostly for historical context. It does not make assumptions about the reader's knowledge and starts with the detailed explanation of concepts of information system. From there, it explains the need for middleware to enterprise application integration to web technologies. The context that explains how web services came into existence is responsible for a big portion of the book.

When it comes to the part on web services, the focus is mostly on B2B integration and does not account for the varied application we see nowadays. In particular, it's natural that it does not touch on web services being the foundation in a multi-device world where we have phones and richer clients (running Javascript, Ajax, JQuery, etc.), what one would expect for a more modern book on web services.

Also, it's important to note that it focus primarily on SOAP and spends some time talking about technologies that ended up failing in the end (like UDDI registry) or may not of the interest of readers, like RosettaNet (at least wasn't of much interest to me). And more interesting technologies, like WS-Coordination or WS-Transaction, were not explained in the level of details that I would expect. WS-* standards like WS-Addressing, WS-Routing, WS-Security, and WS-Policy are barely talked about. These sections could have used the the same attention paid to the first section (web service history). In that sense, the book is a little inconsistent on how detailed it is.

I'd have rated it higher had I read it back in 2004. In 2012 it does have value for the historical context and definitely good for those who want to know how we got where we are, but it doesn't help much if what you're looking for is how to write your API to expose your Web Service. For a more modern approach (and potentially more practical) I would try to find other options.
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