Reviewed: RESTful PHP Web Services

I’ve been using a lot of RESTful services these days and have been waiting for a good book that is dedicated to the topic. I recently received a copy of ‘RESTful PHP Web Services’, which does a successful job of outlining proven concepts in current web technology. If you want to learn the methods for creating and consuming RESTful services then you will find many examples in this book. From the architectural plans to well thought out code samples, the book covers a lot of ground in a relatively quick read.

The first chapter gives the reader a quick introduction to RESTful services and the most common PHP frameworks in use at the time of writing. I particularly enjoyed the section on the Zend framework due to the explanation of benefits over the other frameworks. The chapter also covers the very basics which include a detailed look at exactly what RESTful services means and what technologies are required to use and benefit from a RESTful architecture. The second chapter gives a quick run down of the various methods in use for consumption of data; these being Curl, several HTTP methods, processing data with XML, DOM, and SimpleXML. After those are covered there is a simple example of consuming services like Flickr using the previous methods. This transitions into many more examples of consuming real world services that any developer would find interesting and exciting for data mashups.

The real meat of the book starts in chapter four where we get into designing the resource utilization systems and then the resource clients in chapter five. Those topics basically go over the nuts and bolts of gathering data, manipulating it, updating it, as well as creating fresh data. We get more instruction and usage examples on the Zend framework in chapter seven where the author gives us information on the controllers, models, and view (MVC model). This would not be too useful without knowing how to debug the code that we’re using so there is, thankfully, a chapter dedicated to debugging XML building and parsing errors. A couple of short appendixes cover the author’s own WSO2 web service framework as well as REST Client Classes which should prove useful for writing your own reusable classes.

Overall this book covers the majority of topics that a new developer needs to understand in order to start developing and deploying RESTful code and web services in PHP. From frameworks to consumable service samples, and everything in between, RESTful PHP Web Services comes through in a concise and enjoyable style that will not disappoint. I highly recommend this book for developers that are new to this topic or experienced developers that need a quick refresher course.

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