Programming Web Services with Perl is written for Perl programmers who have no prior knowledge of web services. No understanding of XML-RPC or SOAP is necessary to be able to apply these technologies easily, through the use of publicly available Perl modules detailed in the book. If you're interested in applying XML-RPC and SOAP technologies to distributed programming applications, then Programming Web Services with Perl is a book you'll want to have.
Web services make distributed computing easy. Through standardized protocols for locating, describing, and making remote procedure calls, it's possible to have components of an application written by different groups in different programming languages running on different machines that run different operating systems.
That's not to say that writing a web service is necessarily easy. There's a maze of jargon and acronyms to get through, and if you're truly masochistic, you'll spend days with the dense specifications trying to get your head around the XML you're expected to produce and consume. And even if you let a toolkit handle the XML for you, the toolkit must still work within the limitations of the protocol, so unless you understand the protocol (even at a high level), you'll be confused.
This book will help you cut through the confusion. Whether you're creating and parsing XML yourself or using a toolkit to do it, this book cuts through the jargon and acronym soup to give you what you need to get the job done. The main web service systems and specifications (XML-RPC, SOAP, WSDL, UDDI, and REST) are covered both at the XML level and at the toolkit level.