I was contacted by [PACKT] publishing to give a reviews of the book SOA Patterns with BizTalk Server 2009, in order to do so they also send me a free copy of the book. Instead of glimpsing through the book and writing a brief review within couple of days, I took nearly 2 months till I completed reading the whole book, before writing this review. This review is purely based on my experience reading the book and not influenced by any external factors.
In my opinion this book will be suitable for novice BizTalk user to Advanced BizTalk user.
My overall rating for this book will be 3.5 out of 5.
First of all the title of the book itself is so appealing, Richard picked up two hot topics (SOA + BizTalk) and made an interesting title. This is the first book released with the heading BizTalk Server 2009, hence it will be obvious from the readers they expect new stuff from BizTalk 2009 explained in the book.
Chapter 1: BizTalk Introduction:
Users with basic understanding of BizTalk Server can skip this chapter. You need an introduction to the book, it will be hard to jump into advanced topic without setting the base.
Chapter 2 and 3 : BizTalk Server and WCF:
Users with basic understanding of BizTalk Server and WCF (if you have consumed/published WCF services in BizTalk), can skip these chapters.
SOA is an architectural style, its all about the way people build software rather than they go and buy something off the shelf. Even though SOA can be build without any Web Services, often people relate SOA with web services and majority of the times web services acts as key building blocks/foundations in order to take the enterprise SOA ready.
When we are talking about web services in Microsoft stack, it maps directly to the usage of Windows communication Foundation (WCF) as a single unified development platform for building distributed applications.
Usage of Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) inside BizTalk was brought main stream from BizTalk Server 2006 R2. Unfortunately there are no books published specially for “R2” and hence none of the available BizTalk books explained anything about WCF. Readers purely relied on bunch of online articles, blog posts and product documentation to learn and understand BizTalk and WCF. Richard broken that barrier by dedicating 2 chapters of the book talking purely about BizTalk and WCF. He also explains the Asynchronous messaging pattern, WCF and BizTalk in Chapter 6 of the book. The chapters provides a well guided tour of WCF-BizTalk.
Chapter 9 – WCF SQL Adapter, Chapter 10 – UDDI Service, Chapter 11 – ESB Guidance 2.0:
In my opinion these chapters are more like stand alone articles rather than a chapters in the book. They are isolated on their own rights and explain the topic. Chapter 9 explains all about WCF SQL Adapter, this is the best piece of content I’ve seen for WCF SQL Adapter. Chapter 10, introduces readers to UDDI Service V3 and explains how you can set it up and start consuming it. Chapter 11, introduces readers to the ESB Guidance 2.0 (renamed to ESB Toolkit 2.0 after the release of the book). It explains the basics of Error handling framework, itineraries, various web services that comes as part of the tool kit. Chapter 9 and 10 gives a quick start to UDDI and ESB Toolkit. I personally reverted back to these chapters, when the ESB Toolkit 2.0 was released to get started.
Readers can jump into these chapters directly, without reading any part of the book, which is good in a way. If in case you don?t have the book you can read these chapters online
Chapters 4 to 8:
These chapters are the key ones explaining the relationship between BizTalk Server and SOA principles. In these chapters Richard explains some of the key SOA concepts like Canonical Schemas, message exchange patterns, schema/end point versioning, loose coupling, abstraction, etc. Advanced BizTalk users might feel some of the basic concepts of BizTalk server architecture like Publish/Subscribe, supports for schemas, rules engine, direct binding ports in Orchestration service consumption/publishing etc are directly mapped to SOA concepts and reading those pages more of a refresher rather than something new. But the writing does the justice to the book title, linking SOA concepts and BizTalk concepts.
In this short chapter, Richard glimpsed through Dublin, .NET Services and Oslo giving users some hint about, what’s coming out of Connected Systems division at Microsoft.
Richard had put his fair share introducing readers to some of the core SOA principles, explaining some of the new stuff in BizTalk 2009 and creating a link between some of the well known concepts in BizTalk Server to SOA principles. Overall this book is a good read, some of the advanced BizTalk users may find some of the chapters more of a refreshing read rather than learning something new. I need to praise the way Richard had composed this book, if you enjoyed reading his blog, you’ll enjoy reading this book as well.