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RESTful Web Services Paperback – 18 May 2007

4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 454 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (18 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596529260
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596529260
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.3 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 313,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Book Description

Web services for the real world

About the Author

Leonard Richardson (http://www.crummy.com/) is the author of the Ruby Cookbook (O'Reilly) and of several open source libraries, including Beautiful Soup. A California native, he currently lives in New York.

Sam Ruby is a prominent software developer who has made significant contributions to the many of the Apache Software Foundation's open source projects, and to the standardization of web feeds via his involvement with the Atom web feed standard and the popular Feed Validator web service.He currently holds a Senior Technical Staff Member position in the Emerging Technologies Group of IBM. He resides in Raleigh, North Carolina.


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4.2 out of 5 stars
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This is a good book on the principles of RESTful web services and a useful reminder of the principles of REST itself.

Clearly written with lots of examples. The authors are clearly passionate about REST and RESTful services and explain their viewpoint well.

However, at times, the passion spills over into polemics, which can distract.

For me, the worst aspect of the book is that the bulk of its examples are written in Ruby. I'm not very familiar with Ruby or Ruby on Rails - and Ruby syntax is hard to grasp for the uninitiated (ie me!). It also works some examples that depend on particular Ruby libraries that don't have counterparts in other languages.

It is particularly disappointing that there are not more examples in JavaScript, addressing the substantial Ajax community - Chapter 11 deals with "Ajax Applications as REST Clients" and covers useful ground, but it would be better to see more.
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I like some of the ideas of REST but have some issues with this book:

1) Too much code, and too much ruby code.
2) Doesn't do enough to contrast REST with other approaches and/or explaining where the authors think each approach works well. Of course there was a comparison with a Web services based approach but I would have liked to read more about the wider picture. For example how the authors use REST in addition to SOA/DDD/messaging, assuming that they don't feel that one size fits all.
3) Examples of social bookmarking are useful but how about examples involving pub/sub within the enterprise, or long running work flows involving multiple systems. If you search hard on the Web you can find examples of using REST in such situations but in all honesty they are few and far between.

So all in all I found the book a bit of a let down, though still worth a read as there really aren't many good alternatives.
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It's actually a very good book however it was written some time ago (2007) and a new edition is due, since many examples of real web services do not work any longer, not because of the technology but because they have since become paid services and so on. That's why I give it 4 instead of 5 stars.
Another thing, to really grasp this book you need to know or learn Ruby on Rails. I'm in the later category, and I absolutely don't regret to have been 'obliged' to learn Ruby on Rails, actually this book provides a nice way to learn it for an already experienced programmer.
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