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Programming Amazon Web Services: S3, EC2, SQS, FPS, and SimpleDB Paperback – 1 Apr 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 604 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1st edition (1 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596515812
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596515812
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 3.3 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 412,186 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

James Murty is a software developer with extensive experience creating web-based applications and architectures using Java. With a working background spanning a research institute, a small software house and various corporations he has a broad perspective on both the promise and the difficulties inherent in networked applications.

Most recently James has been excited to see the rise of webapplications and services that provide compelling new tools and new ways of approaching old problems. While experimenting in this area he created JetS3t, an open source library and application suite that is the leading Java implementation available for Amazon's S3 data storageservice.


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Format: Paperback
Amazon Web Services are a constantly expanding series of infrastructure services targeted to web developers who want to outsource parts of their application infrastructure. These services are meant to be reliable, scalable and cost-effective. Especially as far as reliability is concerned, however, Amazon Web Services - together with Google App Engine - have recently been regarded as a bit controversial, due to some downtime episodes. Nonetheless, services such as these provide a gate to the future of the Internet, where owners of small and medium web sites, who can't afford to build some high-quality services on their own, can easily outsource them.

Programming Amazon Web Services is the ideal primer to Amazon outsourcing services. It provides a general view of everything Amazon currently offers, including some services in the beta testing phase, as well as the necessary amount of in-depth coverage of each service.

A programmer who never outsourced any part of its infrastructure might not be much confident using APIs which abstract tasks such as database access and data storage (even though it would be a good practice to use some sort of API also for locally-provided services). To help in this situations, this book kicks off with an explanation on how to think an application, with an appreciated overview of REST-based APIs, remote requests and XML documents and their handling; at the same time, the author tells you how Amazon thinks you should build your application to effectively take advantage of what they provide.

After this introductory part, the whole book is dedicated to the exploration of each service: Simple Stoage Service (S3), Elastic Compute Cloud, Simple Queue Service, Flexible Payments Service and SimpleDB.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. Sutton on 28 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback
This book is a good reference for AWS services, but it does suffer from the normal problem of a book covering a rapidly evolving technology in that it's already out of date.

It covers the basics of how to use most of the services, and is extremely good for getting an understanding of the various offerings Amazon have, but for the most up to date information you'll need to pay a visit to the AWS website.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rob on 5 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback
Despite being filed under Books > Computers & Internet > Computer Science > Programming > Languages > Java > Web Services and the author describing himself as '...a software developer with extensive experience creating web-based applications and architectures using Java...' much of this book is actually written in Ruby. The code examples are available for Python and Java as a download however.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

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44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
A good overview 17 May 2008
By Felix Sheng - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a good overview of the suite of services that comprise Amazon Web Services (AWS), I'd have given it a 3.5 star rating if I could. It talks about all of them, but it spends the bulk of its time, very reasonably, discussing S3 (the persistent storage system) and EC2 (the compute cloud - basically Amazon's Rackspace in the clouds) - each getting about 100 pages devoted to it.

As others have noted it is out of date - but any book would have the same problem due to the moving target that AWS is. The biggest news is that EC2 is going to be getting persistent storage, which I believe will change the game completely when it is rolled out to the public. Instead of needing some elaborate connection with S3, now instances will behave much more like a typical physical machine with real disk drive. The book, on the other hand, provides almost no real advice on how to deal with the problem of non-persistence of EC2's current storage mechanism. This is a signifcant problem that everyone will have to deal with and glossing over it is a failing of the book.

This is also a Ruby book, which I found fairly annoying. Nowhere in the description does it suggest that it is done in Ruby. And while Ruby certainly is trendy these days, the actual number of Ruby developers is small - it gets undue weight in computer texts. At the end of the day, though, it generally provides the actual request strings and XML requests and responses for non-ruby folk to come to their own conclusions.

This is a worthwhile book to get if you're interested in quickly getting a good and broad idea on how to work with AWS. It will give a good foundation to get more out of the documentation and forums found on Amazon's AWS site itself.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Good Resource For Working With Amazon Web Services 10 Jun. 2008
By Dan McKinnon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
'Programming Amazon Web Services: S3, EC2, SQS, FPS, and SimpleDB' is a good resource for anyone that is using the Amazon suite of web products and need to learn more about how to get the most out of these powerful set of web 2.0 tools.

For anyone that doesn't know what these tools are, here's a quick one-liner about each:

S3 - online storage to store and retrieve data

EC2 - online computing to be able to run jobs on a farm of machines

SQS - web messaging infrastructure for computer-computer communication

FPS - flexible payment system for moving money online

SimpleDB - store and retrieve datasets online

I like the content of this book and feel that it plays an important part in this niche market but my major qualm is that the code is written solely in Ruby in this book. While that might appeal to a certain market, to only have this communication in Ruby and/or not use a more traditional language of the day I feel is a major mistake. For this reason alone I knock a star off but still recommend it to anyone looking to learn or use these incredibly cool technologies provided by amazon.

**** RECOMMENDED
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Excellent, except for cover typo! 2 July 2008
By Sundar Raman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Excellent resource, but a bit droll. The content is laid out well, there are plenty of (working) examples, and there's pretty much no fluff to the book at all (in contrast to many O'Reilly books which add a fair amount of humor and distraction).
My chief worry when I received the book was that the title on the spine said "Programming Amazon Web Servcies [sic]". Yes, really the spine has a typo! The cover page does *not* have the typo. Obviously I was worried that the content might have similar brazen errors. But so far not so.
I'd recommend this book for anyone who needs an EC2/S3/AWS reference.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Book - Seems A Little Rushed Though 11 May 2008
By Thomas J. Quinlan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'd have rated this a 4.5 if I could have.

This is an excellent book covering a very new subject matter. My only major complaint is that it seems a little rushed - I've found several typos, and even one section where a couple of lines of (important for that section) code are missing. (I figured out what was missing as I'm sure most people will.)

Also, the book is out of date. However, that is not the fault of the author or the publisher! It is that Amazon's service changes so quickly. The author and the publisher have made every attempt to mention the most recent changes to the service as of the time of writing, including pointing to places on the web to find out more information.

The material it covers is spot on. It goes through the different services that Amazon offers - including their storage, elastic computing, payment systems, and database systems. It clearly explains the disadvantages and advantages of each system, and provides -useful- code examples (in ruby) of how one can take advantage of the services Amazon provides. (There are examples in other languages, like Python, that the author makes available on the book's website.) Each section is devoted to a service for the most part, and the book is very readable.

As I said, I'd have rated this book a 4.5 if I could have. Outside of the errors due to rushing, it's quite useful and quite informative. The code is easy to follow, and I've found it very handy for working with the Amazon Web Services.
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Pretty good book 4 April 2008
By Reader from Texas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I am reading this book on Safari, where it appeared before the hard copy was available. It also avoided snail mail, and this allowed me to be the first reviewer.

The book is about one of the hottest offerings in the software and surely will be read by many people, if only because it is the first book on this subject. It goes through detailed examples and explains the code. You could, potentially, get most of the same information from the tutorials, excepting maybe the bugs and workarounds which are not for the polished company publications.

My only wish is that the examples were not written in Ruby, which today ranks 10th on the TIOBE rating. The explanation that "it is easy to read" seems weak. I would venture to say the author felt more comfortable in Ruby. The upshot was that I learned to read a new language and found out about some new techniques that are cross-language, such as XPath.

I would recommend this book if only because reading it will make you feel more cozy with AWS, before you go to the tutorials and code samples.

Chapter 3 is a good overview of pros and cons of AWS, which you can show to your management if they are uncomfortable with the cloud.

And good luck on the cloud adventure.
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