This book is divided into four sections: introductory material, a conceptual orientation with regard to web services, the various projects surveying real world web service deployments, and finally, a brief chapter outlining some thoughts on the future of web services. While experienced developers may be inclined to skim the introductory chapters, it may be worth covering them again just to make sure you haven't missed the forest for the trees.

Chapter 1, Web Service Evolution

This chapter provides a high level, business-oriented introduction to web services. Technology serves human needs, and this chapter shows how web services fill an important role in the development of the Web. Many developers may be familiar with these concepts already, but it is as important to explain why you do a thing as to explain how it is done.

Chapter 2, Foundations of Web Services

While Chapter 1 covers a business-oriented approach to the history of web services, this chapter provides a technical history. Seasoned developers may find this all familiar, but for readers just joining the web services conversation, this is vital background information. In addition, this chapter can serve as a useful checklist for planning your own web service development and deployment plans.

Chapter 3, Development Platform

This chapter provides an introduction to the Java© development platform and tools used in the projects in this book. An introduction is given to Apache Tomcat, Apache XML-RPC, and Apache Axis, the web server, XML-RPC, and SOAP/WSDL toolkits respectively. Obviously, Java is not the only development platform available, and a brief discussion of alternatives concludes the chapter.

Chapter 4, Project 1: Competitive Analysis

The first project in the book, this chapter shows how data from Amazon, eBay, and Google can be used to present an integrated report to a user. Connectivity to each of these three web service providers is shown, providing an example of the developer effort required to access each system.

Chapter 5, Project 2: Auctions and Shipping

This chapter shows how FedEx and eBay can be integrated to provide auction listings with precalculated FedEx shipping estimates. XML is used throughout?from the local auction listings to FedEx and eBay web services.

Chapter 6, Project 3: Billing and Faxing

In this chapter, high-tech web services are used to integrate PayPal billing with low-tech fax technology.

Chapter 7, Project 4: Syndicated Search

This chapter illustrates a web service gateway, using a Google search result to provide a syndicated RSS feed.

Chapter 8, Project 5: News Aggregator

While other examples in this book operate in direct response to user interaction, this chapter uses the Quartz scheduler framework to monitor Amazon, eBay, Google, and RSS feeds on a regular, reliable schedule.

Chapter 9, Project 6: Audio CD Catalog

This chapters shows how CDDB and Amazon can be used together to create a catalog of your audio CDs.

Chapter 10, Project 7: Hot News Sheet

In this chapter, you'll build an application using RSS to provide a single web page showing what's hot both from the mainstream news and the weblog universe, side by side. The application will additionally fold in results from a Google search on these topics for yet another angle on the news.

Chapter 11, Project 8: Automatic Daily Discussions

In this chapter, you'll build an application to combine your Blogger or LiveJournal weblog with Google's search functionality to create automatic prompts for daily discussions.

Chapter 12, Future Web Service Directions

This chapter starts with a look at some of the more futuristic web service technologies, including REST, UDDI, Rendezvous, and BPEL/BPEL4WS. A look at the future of web service development follows, which considers ease-of-use, the need for a business model, security, and finally, the consolidation of web services.