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SOA Using Java Web Services by Mark D. Hansen

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<pre>Author/s : Mark D. Hansen
Publisher : Prentice Hall
Category : Web Services and SOAP
Review by : Ulf Dittmer
Rating : 7 horseshoes
The book covers the development of web services using the Java EE 5 platform. It provides a comprehensive yet detailed overview of the various components that play a part in it, from JAX-WS clients using REST and SOAP, through data binding with JAXB, to developing, packaging and deploying JAX-WS services, and the various JSR standards covering these technologies. The author also points out the shortcomings of these APIs, and possible workarounds.

At every step of the way ready-to-run example code is presented that illustrates the points made in the text. The code is also tied to numerous WSDL and Schema examples, so the reader should not be afraid to delve into those. The examples culminate in a program accessing various shopping sites via web services, and exposing their accumulated information via a web service itself, thus tying both ends together.

The writing is technical and to-the-point. Sometimes the minutiae of the examples become a bit exhausting, but if a chapter isn't of immediate interest to the reader, it can generally be skimmed over; the chapter introductions and conclusions provide enough hints that the reader knows what he's missing.

This reviewer wouldn't recommend the book as a tutorial for someone who's never developed web services. It is a good introduction to JAX-WS and associated APIs for experienced developers, though, or a reference of the finer points for anyone who doesn't use these technologies continuously.

More info at Amazon.com
More info at Amazon.co.uk
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I'm working through this book right now, and have a couple of comments. It was probably the first book on SOA from the developers perspective. Most of the SOA books out there have been written from the perspective of technical architecture or even solutions architecture and have not been much help in actually solving stuff.

This is not actually a Java book, which surprised me. The key to SOA actually turns out to be topics like XML Schema, XSLT, WSDL, and mapping and binding. Hansen will do an example of something in Java, then tell you why it's better to do the transformation or data validation with another tool like XSLT or XML Schema. He doesn't pretend it is simple - it's not a simple book.

The value of the book isn't in it's explanation of the tools, but rather the discussion of the real-world issues facing most developers working with web services. This book holds particular value for system integrators, developers having to wire together existing systems. In SI you usually have to work with pre-existing WSDL's, java code, or both. Frequently you can't edit either, which rules out some of the coolest solutions, such as JAXB or JAX-WS annotations. You have to find other ways to skin the cat. The book shows multiple approaches to skinning cats.

It's a tough read but ultimately rewarding. I've learned things I wished I had known on previous projects and will certainly use in the future.

If you are a WS novice looking for a primer - look elsewhere. If you only work on greenfield projects where you can define the endpoints, there are simpler solutions than Hansen shows. But if you work on heavy duty WS SI, this book should be on you bookshelf along with references on XSLT and XML Schema.
[ November 11, 2008: Message edited by: Don Stadler ]
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I am reading this book trying out the examples . i am stuck with the example that teaches how to post xml to a REST based webservice without using JAX-WS.
please let me know if you have tried running examples and then i will post my question.

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