Book Review: Java SOA Cookbook

This is a review of the book Java SOA Cookbook by Eben Hewitt

Not having much experience with “SOA”, other than a horrible experience with Apache Axis years ago, I figured it would be good to pick up a book that covers the latest and greatest in this field. “Java SOA Cookbook” is quite the publication. My impression was that this book covered just about everything someone would need to be exposed to, to either get started in the SOA world, or if you are already up to your neck in it and want a good desk reference. This book appears to be it. From SAAJ to JAX-WS, BPEL, ESBs, etc etc, this covers it all. From the very high level 50,000 architecture view (i.e modeling, governance), all the way down to the minutia of various XML Schema design patterns, vendor specific HOWTOs, and details of using TCPMon to monitor SOAP traffic, this book literally appears to cover all the bases.

In the traditional Orielly cookbook model, the book takes a problem solution approach. One of my favorite “problems” presented in the book, which is quite representative of what developers face when approaching the giant world of SOA, is worded as follows, and is VERY relateable!

“You need to start developing the web services for your SOA solution, but there are so many different pieces to put in place that you are not sure where to begin. You need to determine what has to be written by hand and what doesn’t.”

No **it… I loved this book!

Weighing in at ~700 pages, after reading this book I felt like I walked away with two things. First an overwhelming impression that the world of SOA is one of enormous complexity; and secondly, as with anything, when broken down to its smallest parts, anything can be accomplished and understood. This book does just that, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to get a solid understanding of SOA and secondly it would likely serve as a great desk reference for anyone who works in the SOA universe on a daily basis.

Side note, this book is heavily oriented to the traditional “big web-services” world (SOAP, WSDL, JAX-WS etc), however the author does give a good treatment to REST with a full chapter on it.

Recommended: YES

Skill level: Intermediate to advanced Java developers. I think this book would be beneficial to BOTH sides of the fence in the SOA world, those with little to no experience, all the way to those who build services on a daily basis.

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