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Architect offers Web services reading

Veteran programmers looking to update their skills for the New World of XML Web services face a dilemma.

While programmers probably won't need to read the 551 books on XML available via Amazon.com, they will have to dig through some of them to find the information they need, said Frank Barbato, chief systems architect at Lydian Trust Company.

Based on his experience building Web services for the Palm Beach, Fla.-based financial services company, Barbato said you can learn a lot by reading -- but he doesn't say it's easy.

Lydian Trust is a Microsoft shop, so the MSDN Web Services Developer Web site -- http://msdn.microsoft.com/webservices/ -- is one of the resources Barbato and his team use. ''It's full of information if you're willing to spend the time digging through and reading,'' he said. ''There's a number of excellent white papers on the Microsoft site.''

Out of the 500+ books available on Amazon.com, Barbato and his staff have a couple they found to be helpful as they began developing Web services applications for auto-loan, credit and fraud checking about a year ago.

''An excellent book is Real World XML Web Services (Addison-Wesley) by Yasser Shohoud,'' Barbato said. He is not alone in his praise, as Amazon reviewers give four-and-a-half stars (out of a possible five) to the book by Shohoud, a former IBM systems engineer and currently a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for his ASP.NET consulting.

Working his way through the book's 608 pages, Barbato said that Chapter 8 (Interface-based Web Service Development) was ''invaluable'' for explaining how to design interfaces that work properly.

The Lydian Trust developers also found the Visual Basic .NET Serialization Handbook , by Andy Olsen, Matjaz Juric, Adil Rehan and Eric Lippert (Wroz Press Inc.) to be quite helpful. Barbato said the 344-page text was key to helping Lydian master the serialization issues involved in developing Web services on the .NET platform.

''It's pretty thorough about covering how serialization works,'' he said. But he cautions that while the literature is helpful, it takes a lot of work on the programmer's part to get the information needed to make Web services work.

''You've got to dig and put the pieces together,'' Barbato said.

About the Author

Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.

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