Loosely Coupled: The Missing Pieces of Web Services

Author: Doug Kaye
List Price: $39.99
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ISBN: 1881378241
Publisher: RDS Press (August, 2003)
Edition: Paperback
Sales Rank: 3,404
Average Customer Rating: 4.71 out of 5

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Customer Reviews

Rating: 5 out of 5
"A Reader" Missed the Point -- This is a Great Book!
The reader who wrote the January 28, 2004 review of this book apparently failed to read the book's description. "Loosely Coupled" purposely avoids any listings or references to specific protocols and standards. It's not a how-to cookbook. Instead this is a true *strategy* book in which the author explains the underlying concepts and issues of web services.

Almost all other books out there are of the how-to cookbook variety. They walk through the protocols, demonstrating how to build Web Services. They're valuable, to be sure, but "Loosely Coupled" is a unique book that explains the *problems* that the Web Services are in tended to solve, and how they solve them. It's a "how-to-think" book. If you want cookbook-style code examples, indeed look elsewhere. This book won't meet your needs. But if you want to get the big picture including deployment options and project-management strategies, this really is the best book I've found so far. The author is coming at this top-down (i.e., from a management perspective), not bottom-up (from the coder's view), but it's great for readers of a wide range of technical proficiency.

OTOH, as "A Reader" says, if you want the best how-to book on Web Services security, Mark O'Neill's book is the best book I've found that deals exclusively with that topic.

Rating: 3 out of 5
So, who should really read this book?
This book basically explains what was prior to web services and why it was bad. Then it lists advanced features to be addressed in order for web services to work in real life. However, it seems to be totally out of touch with today's reality in which those very issues are being addressed as we speak.

When discussing security, trust, and authorizaton, the author takes his time to beat SSL to death, but does not even mention the standards directly addressing end-to-end security and authorization, such as XML-Security, WS-Security, XKMS, SAML etc. Liberty Aliance and Microsoft Passport are mentioned once in a single sentence as technologies that "support single sign-on". Granted, those technologies are still in flux, but, contrary to the editorial review, they do NOT change on the month-to-month basis, but are there to stay. They are backed up by the industry and have several commercial and open-source implementations. Without the knowledge of at least those buzzwords, one would fail miserably an interview on an architect, developer, manager, or an executive position related to web services.

Some abbreviations, like WSN (web services network) appear to be the author's invention not corresponding to anything real out there. Just try to search on the internet, and the closes match would probably be "Western Society of Naturalists" or "Wedding Services Network".

Some of the author's opinions seem to come from nowhere, not being backed up by any references. For instance, his view of XML firewall that may, among other things, do billing (p. 208) is a bit strange. It's always been a part of the business logic ... or should firewalls distinguish prefered customers, promotional rates, holiday specials, etc. ... :)? The same applies to XML firewalls doing XML conversion (commonly part of the business logic performed as part of a business workflow).

When discussing web services orchestration and transactions, the author does not mention ebXML, BPEL, BTP, WS-Transaction, WS-Coordination, etc. Again, I understand this is a book of concepts, but it should've at least mentioned the most important web services-related buzzwords to keep its readers in touch with reality.

To summarize, I just don't see how this book could benefit its targeted audience (developers, arhitects, managers, and IT executives) in making educated decisions about web services technology.

I'd recommend reading "Web Services Security" by Mark O'Neill et al just to compare the coverage of security. This book also does not contain a single line of code and explains web security concepts to architects and developers. However, Mark is totaly relevant and up-to-date, cleraly riding the web services wave.

Rating: 5 out of 5
Buy this book!
If you are an architect or manager and need to understand web services at a strategy and conceptual level then this is the book to purchase. The writing style is top notch. This book should be purchased in conjunction with Developing Web Services by Ramesh Naggapan.

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