Every act of dishonesty has at least two victims: the one we think of as the victim, and the perpetrator as well. Each little dishonesty makes another little rotten spot somewhere in the perpetrators psyche.
Web services are going to be very big in time, despite their faltering, behind-schedule start. Of that there can be no doubt, given that Web services, very soon, will impinge on everything to do with applications whether they have to do with development, ownership, usage, or commercialization. Web services set out to simplify application development. They will reduce application development costs and compress development schedules. They can be a brand-new source of software revenue. They can be used as a means to capture, reuse, and possibly even resell valuable business logic contained within legacy mission-critical applications. This book deals with all of these aspects and more.
This book will show you how to exploit the vast potential of Web serviceswhether you intend to be a Web service consumer, developer, provider, reseller, consultant, or commentator. If you are an executive, it will help you evaluate the issues that swirl around Web services and make sure you know what questions to ask from those you have tasked with making Web services real. This book will make sure that you will not be blindsided when it comes to Web services.
Web services are enigmatic. They can also be rather confusing and confounding. Much of this has to do with their actual name . Web services are not services in the conventional sense! Web services in reality are application enablers . They are software components . They typically are not meant to have a user interface. Instead, the input and output of Web services are meant to be in the form of XML documents. Web services as such are not meant for direct end- user consumption. They are meant to facilitate the creation of end-user applications. SOAP, WSDL, and UDDI, contrary to what you may have read in the trade media, are not Web services. Headlines such as Intel to Support Web Services are about as inane as a headline that says Ford Motor Company to Support Spark Plugs. There are still a lot of misconceptions and mystery surrounding Web services. This book will demystify Web services. This is not just a promise; its a guarantee .
This book is a comprehensive guide to all aspects of Web services. It was written when Web services appeared after a 2-year gestation. Consequently, it can address the real, practical issues as opposed to focusing on the initial, theoretical aspects of Web services. It tries to be provocative, exciting, and inspiring . It is certainly objective, nonpartisan, factual, and accurate. Though IBM, Microsoft, Sun, BEA, Oracle, and others are mentioned quite a bit, this book is definitely vendor-neutral.
This book provides an incisive executive view on how to exploit Web serviceswhether in terms of creating Web services, using Web services, identifying new Web services, marketing Web services, or supporting Web services. In all cases it presents a balanced viewpoint with the pros and cons clearly laid out. The book will also highlight potential issues pertaining to the topic in discussion and when appropriate identify germane solutions from multiple vendors that could be used to realize the requisite functionality.
The 10-item Q&A section at the end of each chapter is an easy way to reprise all the pertinent topics discussed in that chapter and make sure that you have not misplaced anything especially if you were interrupted and distracted, as is likely to have been the case, multiple times during the course of reading a chapter. The numerous illustrations and tables will also help in this area. This book appreciates the time pressures on todays executives. It thus tries hard to convey the necessary information as easily as possible.
This book is not meant for an overtly technical readership looking for a bits-and-bytes guide to developing or using Web services. This is not a guide for writing Web services related software. If you are already a C++, Java, or Visual BASIC programmer who knows exactly what an XML namespace is all about, then this book is really not for you, though you may want to skim through Chapter 1 and the illustrations in the other chapters and look at a few of the definitions to make sure that you will be on the right track when it comes to developing or using Web services. A quick story may help to clarify exactly what this book is striving to achieve.
I live on a relatively large lake in New Hampshire. One evening I was on the lake in a boat and I was waved down by a group of college-age kids driving around in what we refer to around here as Dads boat. They were a bit disoriented (to use a euphemism) and wanted to know how best to get to Jonathans Landing in Moultonborough. I took out my map and started giving them precise directions using compass bearings, island names , and buoy numbers . A few seconds into this, one of the young men interrupted me and said, I dont want to be rude, but dont get technical with us. Just point. Well, that is what I am doing with this booktrying to point you in the right direction, pointing out what you should be looking out for and what your final destination should be.
If nothing else, even if you just speed-read through this book, it will stop you from being blindsided at meetings where issues related to Web services are raised, discussed, or acted upon. As already mentioned, there is a lot of confusion, misinformation , and mystery surrounding Web servicespart of this stemming from different people misconstruing what a Web service is supposed to be. For example, the concept of managing a Web service is really only germane if you are going to be a provider of a Web service. If, on the other hand, you are on the consumption side of Web services, you would want to manage the applications using Web servicesand monitor the performance and availability of the Web services being used by your applications. This is because the Web services being used by your applications would typically be in the management domain of the Web service provider. It is the nuances like this that can trip you up when it comes to Web services. The express goal of this book is to ensure that you do not get misled by others when it comes to Web services.
From experience, from both sides of the table, I know that meeting scenarios at which technology gets debated is where management can best benefit most from the corporate equivalent of Cliff Notes that address the specific technology issues being discussed. When it comes to Web services, this book is that set of it-will-make-you-look-real-good crib notes. It will enable you to appreciate what the technical folks are talking about, the issues involved, and, most important, the right questions to ask and get answers to. This book is without bias and totally unsponsored by any vendor or organization. Thus, it freely cites, without any bias or prejudice, technology and products from as many germane vendors as possible. If there are any Web servicesrelated vendors that I have not mentioned, and there are bound to be many given how quickly this market is expanding, it does not mean that I do not consider them to be viable . It just means that despite my best efforts they managed to remain below my radar screen.
If you are reading this book, the chances are that you are currently trying to evaluate what Web services are all about. In that case, this is indeed the right book for youeven if you discount my innate partisanship when it comes to this book. This book does set out to provide as comprehensive a view as possible, without getting overly technical, as to what is viable today when it comes to developing or using Web services.
Web services, as you will discover, change everything when it comes to applications. It really is, without in any way being trite, a new and exciting paradigm in the annals of software development. Web services elevate software component technology to a whole new plateau and then combine that with the reach and convenience of the Web. Web services also happen to be the killer applications for XML! Those of us who can remember life prior to the Web, often wonder and even openly ask others: How did we manage before the Web? Well, by 2010, there will be application developers who will ask, albeit rhetorically: How did we manage before Web services? It is as basic as that. This is where this book comes into its own. This book will make sure that you will be a player in the emerging world of Web services.
Web services are a highly dynamic arena. There is constant development in terms of new specifications, technologies, and offerings. A new Web site, www.xmlweb.org, has agreed to work with me to provide up-to-date, vendor-neutral information of interest to readers of this book. I will use this Web site to ensure that the information presented in this book continues to be alive and vibrant. Thus, it will serve you well to visit www.xmlweb.org while reading this book and then to bookmark it for regular visits to stay on top of this subject.