April 22, 2002
BEEP Gives Developers a Break from Reinventing the Wheel: O'Reilly Publishes "BEEP: The Definitive Guide" by BEEP's Creator
Sebastopol, CA--If you ask author Marshall T. Rose what is really new and innovative about BEEP (Blocks Extensible Exchange Protocol), he'll say, "Not much." As Rose explains in his new book, BEEP: The Definitive Guide (O'Reilly, US $34.95), BEEP is a toolkit that can be used for building application protocols. Its goal is simple: BEEP allows a protocol designer to focus on protocol details while BEEP handles other details, such as framing messages, encoding data, negotiating capabilities (versions and options), negotiating connection release, correlating requests and responses, and more, and finally, integrating all these things together into a single, coherent framework. The beauty of BEEP is that it takes care of all these things. As Rose says, "That's not really innovation, but it's really good news if you're already familiar with the building blocks that BEEP uses."
Historically, when different engineers work on application protocols, Rose explains, they come up with different solutions to common problems: "Sometimes the solutions reflect differing perspectives on inevitable tradeoffs; sometimes the solutions reflect different skill and experience levels. Regardless, the result is that the wheel is continuously reinvented, but rarely improved."
Rose goes on to say, "For each problem, there are usually two or three good solutions, and while individual tastes may vary, the sad fact is that you can make any of them work if you're willing to put in the hours. But why put in the hours if they have nothing to do with the primary reason for writing the application protocol to begin with? Isn't there something more productive that you'd care to do with your life than design yet another framing protocol?"
BEEP gives network developers what they've long needed: a standard toolkit for building application protocols quickly and conveniently. It integrates the best practices for common, basic mechanisms that are needed when designing an application protocol over TCP. Written by BEEP's creator, this book introduces BEEP, explains the concepts underlying the BEEP protocol, and demonstrates how to use the BEEP implementation in Java, C, and Tcl. The book shows how to build several working applications that use BEEP as a transport, including an implementation of the reliable SYSLOG protocol and an implementation of a BEEP transport for SOAP.
Standardized by the IETF in 2001, BEEP is being used worldwide by different groups of developers for SOAP exchanges, intrusion detection, instant messaging, network auditing, remote calendaring, and secure credential exchange.
"BEEP: The Definitive Guide" will be an invaluable asset for anyone who wants to learn to use this new tool, including designers who are new to BEEP and want to put it to use, as well as developers who want to use one of the open source APIs for BEEP.
BEEP: The Definitive Guide
By Marshall T. Rose
ISBN 0-596-00244-0, 204 pages, $34.95 (US), $54.95 (CAN)
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