Book Reviews: SOA Using Java Web Services, and J2EE Web Services: XML SOAP WSDL UDDI WS-I JAX-RPC JAXR SAAJ JAXP

Author: Mark D. Hansen

Publisher: Prentice Hall

ISBN: 0130449687 (Click to buy from Amazon)

Author: Richard Monson-Haefel

Publisher: Addison-Wesley

ISBN: 0321146182 (Click to buy from Amazon)

Given the big change from JAX-RPC to JAX-WS during the move from JEE 1.4 to JEE 5, and the fact that the SOA book covers JAX-WS while the older J2EE book covers JAX-RPC, it might seem that you would only need the newer SOA book. That assumption would be wrong. These two books are, in fact, quite complementary. The J2EE book provides, as its name suggests, a background of all the web service technologies, starting even with a background on XML. It then looks in depth at SOAP and WSDL, breaking apart what can be a complex and intimidating subject in the way that the author, Richard Monsel-Haefel, became famous for in his earlier EJB and JMS books. It moves to UDDI, and the use of JAXR as a way of interfacing with UDDI, giving examples of how to interface with public test UDDI servers. A section on SAAJ follows, describing how you can manipulate the soap message using the SAAJ api. There is a section on JAX-RPC, but that section is well contained, and can be safely skipped, assuming that you will also be reading the SOA book. Overall, this is the sort of high quality, comprehensive book we have come to expect from this author.

The SOA book, whether intentional or not, is an almost perfect companion to the J2EE book. It covers in depth the parts of the Java web service stack that have changed since the J2EE book came out, while not touching at all upon other parts of the stack. It then covers how to use these technologies for SOA. For example, JAXR, UDDI, and SAAJ have not changed since the time the J2EE book was written, and this book covers them not at all, except for describing how one part of SAAJ can be used for fault handling in SOA. On the other hand, JAX-WS is entirely new, and uses JAX-B as the serialization engine, and the book spends quite a bit of time on JAX-WS and JAX-B in particular. Annotations are another difference between JAX-WS and JAX-RPC, and the book lays out all the annotations and their effects upon the generation of WSDL, which is essential to know.

In addition to bring to reader up to speed on the latest on the Java Web Service stack, the book also devotes time to using these tools for SOA. Here, the author does a good job of explaining the theoretical basis for Java Web Services, and the theoretical basis for SOA, and describes the areas in which those two concepts are sometimes not a perfect match. He then provides enough information for the reader to decide how best to overcome these differences when they become apparent–For example, in extreme situations, a mapper XML tool, such as castor, may be used in place of a binder XML tool such as JAXB. Because of the two strengths of this book, it is recommended even if you not doing SOA, but merely want information on the latest Java Web Service tools. If you are also planning to do SOA, then this book becomes a must read.

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