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This book provides an overview of Web services. Its purpose is to help you make more informed decisions about adopting Web services in your company.
Unlike most books you'll find on the subject, this guide is written for managers and not for engineers. I've tried to limit the use of computer jargon and acronyms. I don't assume that you know how to write software. I do assume that you are familiar with the way businesses use software.
I present the technology in business terms. I've tried to cut through the hype by presenting both the advantages and the disadvantages of this technology. My goal is to help you understand how Web services can benefit your business. I've identified tactical and strategic projects in which Web services offer the greatest advantages. You will find the information in this book helpful when trying to cost-justify a project.
It seems that nearly every hardware and software vendor is touting a Web services strategy. I've made an effort to present the technology in a completely vendor-neutral fashion. I also provide some guidelines that you can use to help you evaluate and select a Web services technology provider.
Information about Web services standards and vendor products is current as of this writing. I will publish periodic status updates on my Web site. Please visit http://www.bowlight.net.
If you're planning a Web services project, you should read this book thoroughly. If you want only a basic introduction to Web services, read the first two chapters. If you already feel comfortable with the basics and you want more specific information about Web services applications or vendor offerings, you can read selective chapters. You can also skimthe book by scanning the "fast track" summary in the outer margin and then selectively drilling down into specific sections.
I've found it impossible to discuss this technology without using some jargon and acronyms. To minimize confusion, I include a number of Executive Summaries of key concepts throughout the book. I also provide a Glossary, which has definitions for all terms that appear in boldface throughout the book.Book Outline
Chapter 1, The Application Integration Crisis, identifies the motivation behind Web services. In nearly every survey taken during the past 10 years, managers consistently list application integration as one of the top three technology issues facing business. Application integration provides both tactical and strategic value to a business. From a tactical perspective, application integration improves operational efficiency, resulting in reduced costs. From a strategic perspective, application integration enables better access to information, allowing decision makers to make better decisions. Unfortunately, most businesses have a hodgepodge of application systems, developed using different technologies and running on a variety of platforms. It is hard to integrate heterogeneous systems. The issue becomes much more challenging when a business tries to integrate its systems with those of its partners, suppliers, and customers. Web services technology addresses this challenging issue.
Chapter 2, Web Services Basics, provides a basic explanation of Web services in business terms. It contains an overview of what Web services are and why you might want to use them. I explain how Web services technology is different from previous integration technologies. I also explore Web services business models using case studies.
Chapter 3, Web Services Technologies, is the most technical chapter in the book. I provide an overview of the core technologies that support Web services, including the Web,
Chapter 4, Standardizing Web Services Technologies, recounts the history of SOAP, WSDL, and UDDI, and it explores the efforts under way to define formal industry standards. Although many people view SOAP, WSDL, and UDDI as formal standards, they were developed by private companies. Now these technologies are being standardized by W3C and OASIS. Another organization, WS-I, is defining guidelines for Web services interoperability.
Chapter 5, Advanced Web Services Standards, looks at the current standardization efforts to define advanced features for Web services, such as security, management, transactions, and portal integration. Some efforts, including security and portal integration, are making great headway. Other efforts are less far along.
Chapter 6, The Promise of Web Services, dispels the hype around Web services. It examines some of the more popular science fiction stories told to explain the promise of Web services and recasts them into something a bit more realistic. Then it focuses on the progress in the industry that is helping to make these promises come true.
Chapter 7, When to Use Web Services, explores the scenarios and applications that would benefit most from using Web services. Each of these scenarios is illustrated using a case study.
Chapter 8, Web Services Infrastructure, examines the software products that you can use to build Web services. It seems as if every software vendor now sells a product that "supports" Web services. But what does that mean? This chapter categorizes the various types of products and explains how they work together and how they fit into your existing IT infrastructure. This chapter also provides a comparison between Java and .NET.
Chapter 9, Evaluation Guidelines, furnishes basic guidelines that a business manager should follow when evaluating Web services products. Chances are high that you will use different products for different applications. You should choose products based on the requirements of each application.
Appendix A, Web Services Product List, provides a listing of the most popular Web services products, categorized by product type and supported environments.
Appendix B, Requirements Questionnaire, is a list of questions that can help you identify your application requirements during your evaluation.
The Glossary defines all the terms that appear in boldface.