This book turned out not to be what I was expecting, which is not to say it isn't good, just a surprise. All the blurb about it from the O'Reilly site to Amazon to the back cover do not sell this book correctly. Even the preface doesn't seem to quite convey what it is truely about, for that you need to wait till page 25;
"The primary focus of this book is not on creating your own web services but on using existing web services in productive and useful ways."
There it is, the prefect description. The book takes the reader through code examples for innovative ways to utilise the Amazon, eBay, Google, Fedex and CDDB web APIs, all of these examples are in Java.
Will Iverson is someone who really gets, and wants others to understand, that the real benefits of Web Services come when you begin to forget about the details of them and use them simply as APIs, as you would any other. He rarely distracts you with the details of SOAP or WSDL, except for to generate higher level APIs. However he does highlight the potential problems of Web Services by talking about the facilies of network connectivity.
While short, all of the APIs represented are explained, with good examples, enough to get you thinking about ways in which you can use them. This book is perfect for those people who are just getting into Web Services and want to understand what can be done with them, why they are potentially so powerful. Because of this, Real World Web Services is not recommended for those with any real experience of their own.