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Programming Web Services with Perl
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2003
Programming Web Services with Perl is principally a book on implementing solutions using XML-RPC and SOAP in Perl. It also covers complementary and alternative standards such as WSDL, UDDI, and REST in some detail. And on the periphery, it finishes with a whirlwind tour of developing message routing, alternative data encoding within XML, security, transactions, workflow, internationalization, service discovery, extension, and management techniques and specifications.
The book assumes the reader will have the knowledge of an intermediate level Perl programmer. I.e., the reader is assumed to have a working knowledge of references, data structures, and object-oriented Perl. On the other hand no previous knowledge of XML, XML-RPC, SOAP or XML related technologies is required.
It should also be mentioned that both of the authors Randy J. Ray and Pavel Kulchenko are also the principle developers of the most popular XML-RPC and SOAP Perl modules: XML::RPC and SOAP::Lite respectively. That said, the book is not a soap box for the authors to tout the merits of their tools.
Rather, it is a practical book which starts with grounding fundamentals. Readers should walk away with a core understanding of XML-RPC and SOAP and not just a particular tool set for working with them. The authors examine the alternative XML-RPC and SOAP tools, illustrate how they are used, and give practical and even handed reasons why their modules should be preferred. Which comes down to issues of features, active development, support, and the amount of work required to code to a particular interface. They then settle down to a comfortable and thorough guide to XML::RPC and SOAP::Lite.
The topics and issues are illustrated throughout using real world web services. For example creating an XML-RPC client for O'Reilly's Meerkat news wire, or a SOAP client to covert use.perl.org's journal stream to RSS. Code is presented to the reader filtered down to highlight each particular issue as it is discussed. This is nice in that it avoids listing slight variations of the same code multiple times, but on the down side it can also leave the reader flipping back and forth to reassemble an example in their head. Full code for each example is provided in the appendices. And all of the example code may be downloaded from O'Reilly at [their web site].
All-in-all, the book is a thorough practical introduction to working with XML-RPC, SOAP and related technologies. When I started reading the book, I was a bit disappointed to see that it only covered XML-RPC and SOAP related services. When I finished, I was impressed with how very much information they'd managed to pack into so few pages.
And yet, I was left wishing there'd been a more through coverage of interoperability issues between other SOAP implementations and things like custom de-serializers. To be honest interoperability and de-serialization are mentioned, and the authors do an excellent job of referring the reader on to sources for continued reading on most other topics.
The book does an admirable job balancing content, length, and information density. Not to mention an excellent job delivering the information that will still be relevant years and not just weeks from the date published. Most of the topics I'd wished to see covered in more depth are those that are still developing and consequently most likely to become quickly dated. In short a well balanced practical guide to applying XML-RPC and SOAP to solve problems.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2003
Some time ago, I purchased a different book: "Programming Web Services With SOAP" (ASIN: 0596000952), and my feeling - and that of many others - is that it was very weak. A decent view from 30,000 feet, but it was not very helpful to a perl developer thrown kicking and screaming into a project requiring XML and the use of SOAP::Lite. "Disappointment" was the best way to describe it.
But *THIS* is the book that the other one should have been - it's fantastic. It is chock-full of real live examples *with code*, the introductory and explanatory material is excellent, and the writing style is simply a joy to read.
In particular, the reference material for SOAP::Lite is very much welcome: it was written by the author of the code.
Five very glowing stars for this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 13, 2009
This book desperately needs an update with real-world SOAP examples passing complex data into SOAP::Lite running in PERL.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2003
As with all O'Reilly books there's a great intro to the technologies. They take you through how it works, not just how to deploy some code. When you get to the XML-RPC modules, they don't force a solution on you, but give a great tour of what's available and let you pick. For me, the highlight was the intro to Randy J. Ray's RPC::XML modules (he's also one of the authors). I've been fighting with getting the 'system.*' handlers hacked in with other aproaches and it was great to see someone had already figured out such a clean approach. (Which is something since Perl can get reeeaaal ugly!) This book has saved me many days of wasted development.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2003
As with all O'Reilly books there's a great intro to the technologies. They take you through how it works, not just how to deploy some code. When you get to the XML-RPC modules, they don't force a solution on you, but give a great tour of what's available and let you pick. For me, the highlight was the intro to Randy J. Ray's RPC::XML modules (he's also one of the authors). I've been fighting with getting the 'system.*' handlers hacked in with other aproaches and it was great to see someone had already figured out such a clean approach. (Which is something since Perl can get reeeaaal ugly!) This book has saved me many days of wasted development.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2012
The examples in the book are broken. The target server does not exist. Without the server code, the examples are worse that useless; the reader spends time to find the error to no avail.

Had I realized this before I purchased the book, I would have boycotted the book. At the very least, errata online should correct the errors. I cannot recommend the book.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2003
And yet this book covers every aspect of web service development utilizing perl. As a long time user of the original Frontier::RPC2 module, things have come a long way, and with that greater complexity, the concepts have grown in scope considerably. This IS the book that you want to read if you REALLY want to understand SOAP and XML-RPC. From the XML DTD's to implementation code (either standalone applications or utilizing mod_perl) this book covers everything in between. In all it is a welcome addition to the O'Reilly family of Perl books.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2009
This book was fantastic and allowed me to get up and running on a web services project for work very quickly.

While I still needed a few internet resources to complete the project, I would not have been able to get far along without this book!
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on August 11, 2014
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