Friday, October 10, 2008

SOA Approach to Integration

After I read Service Oriented Architecture with Java I decided to read another SOA-book of Packt Publishing. The book is titled:

SOA Approach to Integration

As an Enterprise Integration Architect I was very pleased to read this book and I would recommend every integration architect to read it. Why? Not only because it will teach you the ideas behind SOA from an integration perspective, but also because it teaches you the developers language.

The book is also of great value if you are a developer, because it teaches you the various technologies to implement SOA.

The book starts with positioning SOA as an integration style, which I do think is a valid perspective. The term Process-Oriented Architecture is introduced. Yet another acronym, POA, which sounds to me like BPM. BPM, however, is not mentioned in the index of the book. But let's stay away from this semantic discussion.

The authors explain best practices for using XML for integration. They explain the web services approach, including design guidelines. The WS-I Basic Profile comes to the scene and - in the context of Process Oriented Integration - BPEL is comprehensively explained, including some code snippets.

To me the most interesting part of the book was the last chapter. These 90 pages (a quarter of the book) deal with the SOA platform, being the Enterprise Service Bus (ESB). The ESB architecture is described as well as the concepts of Service Containers as the primary tier of the bus. Bus Services are mentioned (Mediation, Transformation and Process Flows); Security and Transactions; Reliability, Scalability and Management; Application Development Considerations; and finally Extending the ESB to Partners. These are the things developers are concerned with. It is a very good idea for an architect to have a notice of what puts the burden on the developers, and to be able to understand their language.

My conclusion is that this book supplies its readers with feet-on-earth knowledge of SOA between concepts and technical implementation. Very worthwhile reading.

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