Web Services are self-contained modular applications that can be defined, published and accessed across the web.
This book claims to teach you, amongst other things how to 'understand the new web services model', 'design a web service using Java architecture' and 'implement web services using Java's XML APIs'.
It deals exclusively with the Java tools available to the Web Services programmer, as these are handily packaged up into Sun's Java Web Services Developer Pack (Java WSDP).
Parts one and two make a good introduction to the uses for and the architecture of a Web Services implementation. Touching on all elements, 'the web services technology stack', explaining roles of each. Key components of the stack include XML, WSDL, SOAP and UDDI.
Part three looks in more details at each element of the Java WSDP; these include JSPs and Servlets, JAXP, JAXB, JAXM, JAX-RPC, JAXR and JSTL.
At least a page of each chapter is wasted on a largely common introduction. I also found that plenty of the content of each chapter was previously covered in parts one or two and subsequently covered again in the appendices.
Saying that, each of these chapters does serve as a thorough introduction to the technology area concerned - most chapters offering tutorials to work through a given example. However, although references are made back to part two, it's still unclear how each of these Java technologies fit together.
In my experience of Web Services, one rarely needs to understand all of the processes involved; indeed, the authors often refer mysteriously to 'tools' that perform many of the processes for you. A thorough introduction to Web Services programming would make more of these tools - What are they? How do they bring all of these technologies together?
This book starts by providing great inspiration for would-be Web Services programmers, but by the time they've finished reading it, they'll be thoroughly confused.