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The web services architecture provides a new way to think about and implement application-to-appl….Programming Web Services with SOAP shows how to build distributed applications using XML Web services. The authors explain what SOAP is, and how it is implemented in Java with Apache SOAP, in Perl with SOAP::Lite, and on Microsoft’s.NET Framework. They also present a snapshot of what is happening with Web services, with shrewd comments about standards, implementations and industry battlegrounds. The book is realistic about areas of weakness in the SOAP specification, highlighting problem areas such as incompatibilities and lack of security standards. James Snell and Doug Tidwell work on SOAP and related technologies at IBM, while Pavel Kulchenko is the author of SOAP::Lite, so this is a particularly well-informed team. Perhaps inevitably, they cover Java and Perl implementations in more detail than .Net, which means this may not be the best title for developers intending to work primarily with Microsoft’s platform.
The early chapters offer an introductory overview, describing the SOAP specification and giving simple examples in Perl, Java and .Net. Next comes a more complex example, using a Perl server and an Apache SOAP client. There is a chapter on describing Web services with WSDL, and another on discovering Web services with the UDDI registry or the more recent WS-Inspection language. The authors then give a real-world example, explaining the CodeShare Service Network, an open source project for sharing code. Finally, there is a look at security and a peek into the future of SOAP. In the end SOAP is software plumbing, as the authors readily admit, and makes a rather dry topic. Even so, it is an essential part of Web development today and this short, clear presentation does a great job of showing how to put it to work. —Tim Anderson