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RESTful Web Services Paperback – May 15, 2007

4.0 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Book Description

Web services for the real world

About the Author

Leonard Richardson (http://www.crummy.com/) is the author of the Ruby Cookbook (O'Reilly) and of several open source libraries, including Beautiful Soup. A California native, he currently lives in New York.

Sam Ruby is a prominent software developer who has made significant contributions to the many of the Apache Software Foundation's open source projects, and to the standardization of web feeds via his involvement with the Atom web feed standard and the popular Feed Validator web service.He currently holds a Senior Technical Staff Member position in the Emerging Technologies Group of IBM. He resides in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 454 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (May 18, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596529260
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596529260
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #320,015 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Packed with all sorts of knowledge about REST, HTTP and AJAX this book will make you very capable at building well designed RESTful web services. Any topic imaginable is covered, from obscure ways of handling transactions, to Apache proxies, service implementations in Rails and the limitations of the current browser security model.

While this is all good and useful stuff, it also scatters the books focus, which eventually turns out to be its major problem. The topic orientation simply sucks. I would recommend reading the book in this order:

* Core knowledge
- Introduction, Chapter 1 and 3
- Chapter 4, 8, 9
- Optional: chap 10 (comparison to SOAP).

* REST service examples
- Chapter 5, 6 and 7

* REST clients
- Chapter 2 and 11

The service examples (chapter 5 - 7) should really have been one chapter. The client chapters does not show how to write clients against the provided example services, which is a major mistake. The core knowledge scattered throughout chapter 4, 8 and 9 (like the ATOM publishing protocol which is covered multiple places) should be collected and ordered.

So why the four starts ?. I have to admit that my annoyance with the books topical layout is trumped by the authors knowledge and their ability to pack a surprising number of usable facts into this book. So if you do not loose your way in their topical jungle then you will eventually come through as a REST maven.
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Format: Paperback
Ok, the concept behind the book is valid: let's have computers use the web the way it was intended to be used, and if everybody sticks to a small set of reasonable design rules, we'd all be better off. But why does it take 400 pages for the authors to drive that point home (over and over again)? 70% of the content seems "filler" material, which has been put in just to turn this into a book. True, there are code examples that may be helpful to some beginner programmers, but I'm still left feeling that this could have been a well-written, 3-chapter book about 100 pages long.

I'm still glad I read it but found the blabbing rather frustrating. My 2c.
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Format: Paperback
1) The editors were apparently on vacation. There are numerous errors including several typographical errors that a simple spell-check would have caught (words like "ang" and "extrenal") and a number of ungrammatical sentences.
2) The authors frequently make best practices statements without actually supporting them with evidence or otherwise explaining what makes them best practices.
3) There's really only about 100 pages of content. The other three quarters of the book is repetition. For example, chapters 4 and 8 seem to be the same. There is even a specific example regarding content language that is presented in chapter 4 and not referred to but simply repeated in chapter 8.

This book could be obsoleted by a brief 3 part tutorial perhaps combined with a half-hour slide show.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a nice work on RESTful web-services, but I found the examples to be less than useful. The majority of the examples hide the true details of the creation and handling of RESTful web-services in calls to Ruby libraries. These examples give the reader no real understanding of what's actually happening under the covers and thus no platform from which to attempt to implement RESTful web-services in other languages.

It's also troubling that the authors have found it necessary to redefine already well defined industry terms and definitions in order to bolster their own arguments for REST. For instance the authors, throughout the book, repeatedly refer to all SOAP exchanges as being RPC like, which is certainly not the case. The authors make no attempt to compare and contrast real message-oriented or document-literal web-services against RESTful web-services. Chapter 10 includes one single sentence on "new WSDL features" like document/literal, which the authors admit to not covering, as encouraging the creation of RPC style web-services. At best this is simple ignorance and at worst is willful deception.

I'd recommend this book as a good resource on the idea of what it means for a web-service to be truly RESTful, but I would also advise the reader to approach this work from a critical thinking standpoint. It's obvious from reading this work that the author's have an agenda and that they are willing to alter industry standard terms and definitions in order to promote their work.

Cheers
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Format: Paperback
There's a lot of material in this book - close to 400 dense pages of highly technical information. This and the ton of examples can't help but impress upon you that the authors are smart. Very smart.
The problem I have with this book is that maybe there's too much information. REST is supposed to simplify things, right? Up until this point I've read about REST in a couple of Rails book. I understand it (I think) and believe it's the wave of the future, especially after spending hours slogging through 800+ page books on JEE Web Services, WS-Death-*s (good call DHH!) and SOAs. While this book clocks in with less pages, it's still a tough read at times. And sometimes it was easy to lose sight of the forest while meandering through the numerous and sometimes-scattered trees.
Maybe that's just how tech books are; I don't know. I do know that most people are pressed for time and don't live and breath this stuff - which could explain the popularity of the "For Dummies" and "Head First" series.
Come to think of it, that's what I'd like to see: a "Head First RESTful Web Services" book. I think that would actually *help more people* to understand, and thus use, this technology.
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