June 27, 2001
Programming Web Services with XML-RPC
Sebastopol, CA--"XML-RPC turns the Internet itself into a scripting
environment, much as Visual Basic turned Windows into a scripting
environment, or AppleScript turned the Macintosh OS into one," says
Dave Winer, CEO of UserLand Software, and the lead designer of XML-RPC.
"It makes our worlds come together, makes the bigger world smaller and
more approachable. And it's inclusive, no one need be left out of the
The beauty of XML-RPC is in its ease of use. Web services are often
easier to build with XML-RPC than with the more-trumpeted SOAP, the
rival protocol that does more but also demands much more. The
just-released book, Programming Web Services
with XML-RPC (St.
Laurent, Johnston & Dumbill, O'Reilly & Assoc., US $34.95) introduces
the simple but powerful capabilities of one of the earliest protocols
built to connect programs with XML, now in the midst of a resurgence
largely driven by developers' frustrations with SOAP. "XML-RPC is a
simple and easy technology for no-fuss web services," explains coauthor
and creator of the PHP XML-RPC code, Edd Dumbill, "For simple
applications, you don't need all the machinery the big vendors are
pushing. It's amazing how far XML-RPC will take you."
XML-RPC lets developers connect programs running on different
computers--with a minimum of fuss. Built on XML and the ubiquitous HTTP
protocol, XML-RPC wraps procedure calls in XML and establishes simple
pathways that programs can use to call functions: Java programs can
talk to Perl, which can talk to Python and ASP and so on, and
developers can provide access to procedure calls without even needing
to know what language is on the other end.
XML-RPC is stable, with 34 implementations on a wide variety of
platforms. While it does less than the similar SOAP, it also has far
fewer interoperability problems and its capabilities and limitations
are much better understood.
This new book supplies the details of both the XML-RPC specification
and XML-RPC implementations. Developers can get started quickly
developing distributed applications in Java, Perl, Python, ASP, or PHP,
and also have the information they need for low-level debugging.
Developers who want to build their own XML-RPC implementations in other
environments will be able to use the detailed explanations of XML-RPC
as a foundation for their own work.
Unlike most current writing on web services, Programming Web Services
with XML-RPC explores both the capabilities and limitations of XML-
RPC with a minimum of hype. Developers will be able to take the code
explained by this book and do real work with it immediately, rather
than having to think about architectures while waiting for vendors to
get their interoperability sorted out.
Services with XML-RPC
By Simon St. Laurent, Joe Johnston & Edd Dumbill
0-596-00119-3, 300 pages $34.95 (US)
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