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RESTful .NET (O'Reilly)
Author(s): Jon Flanders
Published: 2008, ISBN  978-0-596-51920-9, Pages 320
Publisher (more . . .):  O'Reilly

 Four out of Five Stars
  Reviewed: November, 2009
  Reviewer: Michael Duncan
       Once you’ve read the first two chapters, you will find that REST concepts are generally very simple, but for many .NET developers, myself included, who have exclusively only worked with SOAP based .NET services (WCF and services developed from WSDL documents), REST methodologies can be somewhat confusing.

     Jon Flanders has done an excellent job removing any ambiguities about building and consuming RESTful services. REST concepts are explained and contrasted to traditional SOAP concepts in the first two chapters with clear dialog and a simple straight forward example. You will have a good understanding of REST architectural concepts and will easily understand how they correlate to the overall design of the web. You will also have an understanding of why other developers who do not use .NET technologies are such proponents of RESTful concepts (A.K.A. RESTafarians.)

     In very short order, I found myself looking at resources from a different perspective, a RESTful perspective, and excited about experimenting with the examples provided in the book. I recommend that you visit the book’s website provided in the Preface and download the sample code before you move into and beyond the third chapter.

     The remainder of the book after the first two introductory chapters answers those more specific “How do you?” questions. The approach of using simple, straight forward examples is applied throughout. After demonstrating basic read-only (GET) and read/write services, more advanced topics are discussed including, exposing feeds, using JSON, Ajax, Silverlight (1.0 & 2.0), securing endpoints, and Workflow.

     I found the chapter discussing methods for hosting WCF RESTful services, including how to do so without using IIS, of particular interest. I had not previously attempted self hosting prior to using the examples found in this book and now I am intrigued about the potential applications.

     The topic of how to consume RESTful XML services that may not have been built with .NET is also discussed. Facing this task professionally, I was very interested in this chapter. While it did not answer all my questions, Jon’s discussion did put me on the right path and I have to acknowledge that consuming such services is a difficult subject to write about.

     The book ends with a discussion of how to effectively use some of the more advanced HTTP constructs. Additional appendices are also provided regarding ADO.NET and WCF 3.5 SP1. The book was started prior to the release of the latter, so do not overlook that particular topic.
At 246 (content) pages, the book reads well on its own without becoming a “Tome of Information.” Despite its relatively small size, it packs a lot of information and the book will serve well as a reference for the future.

     This is not a book for beginners, new to .NET and WCF. After reading it, I feel that while this book is probably intended for an audience of intermediate developers, even the most experienced developers will benefit by reading this book. Developers who work in mixed environments, .NET & open source, will find this book of particular interest.
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