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100 SOA Questions: Asked and Answered
Author/s    : Kerrie Holley, Ali Arsanjani
Publisher   : Prentice Hall
Category   : Web Services and SOAP, Project Management, Process and Best Practices
Review by : Deepak Bala
Rating        : 4 horseshoes

Before we even dive into the review, I thought it would be useful to mention the target audience for this book. The authors recommend that technologists / business stakeholders / architects would benefit from this book. It is not a technology book.

The expectation I had when I started reading this book was that it would give me clear / concise answers to specific problems / scenarios that one encounters in the SOA world. Unfortunately I found the answers to be wayward and not to the point. So what did I dislike about this book ?

1. The authors are undecided about the technical mastery that is required to read this book. For example, a mini tutorial on REST is provided abruptly while answering a question. I would expect an architect or technologist to know what REST is.
2. The answers are very abstract. So abstract that their meaning could be interpreted in a myriad of ways.
3. Some assumptions that are made about the architecture of a target system (the presence of pre-packaged software for example) are not necessarily true for all enterprise systems.
4. The book recommends that you visit the web site www.100Questions.info to have any other questions that you have answered. At the time of this writing, the website is simply a blank page that has been parked by godaddy. Very disappointing.

As for what I liked about the book, you can traverse to any question you want and have it answered. The questions are not necessarily linked to each other in any way. So you can read a question about architecture and then jump to say governance without any problem.

Overall, I did not derive enough value from reading this book.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

More info at Amazon.com
Review by : Ulf Dittmer
Rating        : 4 horseshoes

"SOA is a paradigm shift." (Q60) that "will forever be entrenched as a best practice" (Q94), and which is an evolution beyond OOP and Agile methodologies (Q38). These are the basic premises of this book, and anyone not buying into them will have trouble getting value out of reading it. The book seems out of a time a few years back when the SOA and web service hypes were at their peak; now that the hype has subsided, and the world has, by and large, recognized SOA as not being a game-changer but just another tool of the trade, and moved beyond large parts of the SOAP ecosystem, it feels strangely out of place.

The authors work, respectively, for IBM -one of the largest pushers of SOA infrastructure software- and a consulting company that specializes in introducing SOA in companies (something that the book advocates, Q48), so maybe this is to be expected. The book emphasizes big enterprise topics and assumes that a remodeling of the software and IT infrastructure (like putting in place ESB and BPM) need to be part of the overall SOA effort. No effort is made to present or justify SOA in environments that are not prepared to make that effort.

The 100 questions and answers are bundled into related categories like architecture, governance, organization that can be read individually as needed. That's a nice touch, as not all material will be of interest to all readers, or at all times, so chapters can be read on an as-needed basis. The presentation itself is clear, and aided by numerous diagrams that help illustrate the main points.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

More info at Amazon.com
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