Programming Amazon Web Services

Programming Amazon Web Services

  • S3, EC2, SQS, FPS, and SimpleDB
  • James Murty
  • Web Programming
  • Amazon.co.uk

Who would have thought, when Amazon started selling books back in the late nineties, that you’d be able to ‘rent’, for want of a better word, computing time on their servers. And to store as many files as you wanted on their hard-drives. That you could, as many companies have, run a good chunk of your infrastructure in the ‘cloud’, without having to buy servers and have them installed at a secure facility with fail-safe systems.

I bought this book after using Amazon S3 to store my iPhoto files back in January. Then, and still now, I use a set of Ruby scripts called S3Sync to synchronise files from my iMac to S3. That is more-or-less all I use S3 for apart from automatic backups from my web-server every night. I did watch a screencast done by someone who had written Capistrano recipes that deploy a Rails application to EC2, which was just mind-blowing… and a little depressing, as I thought that I should be doing that kind of stuff at work.

So I was interested enough to want to learn more. I was also hoping that it would cover Amazon AWS Search, to retrieve product information, but it doesn’t touch on that at all. As the title suggests it covers S3, EC2, SQS, FPS and SimpleDB. Don’t think that I’ve read it all as it is close to 600 pages and, as you can imagine gets very technical. Luckily all the example code is written in Ruby, so I did have some understanding of what the code was going to do.

At least now I have a basic understanding of what is possible with these services. I would be interested in setting up an EC2 instance to run a Rails application, just to see what is involved.

The book is certain very thorough and, having only been published in March 2008, is relatively up to date, but as Amazon change and improve their offerings how relevant will it be next year.