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SOA & WOA: Book Review

Book Review: SOA Patterns

A Must Read for Every Software Architect

I have been waiting for this book for a long time, so the first thing I would like to do is thank Aya, the author's wife. In the acknowledgements the author thanks her for making him man up and finish the book. The second thing I would like to do is thank the author for listening. A project like this had to have been difficult to finish.

The wait was definitely worth it. This is an excellent compilation of rock solid architectural advice. Having it delivered in the format of patterns is icing on the cake.

The book is broken down into two parts. The first part introduces SOA and then covers the patterns. The second part discusses SOA in the real world. I have listed the chapters and the patterns they include below. At the end of each chapter there is also a Summary and Further reading section which I do not show below.

Part 1 SOA patterns

Chapter 1 Solving SOA pains with patterns
Defining software architecture
Service-oriented architecture
Solving SOA challenges with patterns

Chapter 2 Foundation structural patterns
Service Host pattern
Active Service pattern
Transactional Service pattern
Workflodize pattern
Edge Component pattern

Chapter 3 Patterns for performance, scalability, and availability
Decoupled Invocation pattern
Parallel Pipelines pattern
Gridable Service pattern
Service Instance pattern
Virtual Endpoint pattern
Service Watchdog pattern

Chapter 4 Security and manageability patterns
Secured Message pattern
Secured Infrastructure pattern
Service Firewall pattern
Identity Provider pattern
Service Monitor pattern

Chapter 5 Message exchange patterns
Request/Reply pattern
Request/Reaction pattern
Inversion of Communications pattern
Saga pattern

Chapter 6 Service consumer patterns
Reservation pattern
Composite Front End (Portal) pattern
Client/Server/Service pattern

Chapter 7 Service integration patterns
Service Bus pattern
Orchestration pattern
Aggregated Reporting pattern

Part 2 SOA in the real world

Chapter 8 Service antipatterns
Knot antipattern
Nanoservice antipattern
Transactional Integration antipattern
Same Old Way antipattern

Chapter 9 Putting it all together—a case study
Problem
Solution

Chapter 10 SOA vs. the world
REST vs. SOA
SOA and the cloud
SOA and big data

So what makes this book different from other SOA Pattern books? My take on that is that this one is written by a software architect who is writing to software architects. Yes the book is also appropriate for developers, CIOs, project managers, and testers, but it really speaks to the software architect.

The last section of every pattern description contains a quality attributes section. The author calls the patterns a solution and the quality attributes the requirements. Software architecture is all about the quality attributes. They are what help define the scenarios and the trade-offs that need to be made during architectural design. The quality attributes section maps the quality attribute to concrete attributes to a sample scenario. It really helps to highlight the architectural importance of the pattern.

If you have never read any of the author's published material, you should also take the time to check that out. His material on software architecture is great. He put together the SPAMMED architecture framework (SAF) which is a set activities that an architect can follow when they design an architecture. If you are not experienced with quality attributes, the author's SAF is a great place to start.

Another thing that I really like is that the author includes a technology mapping section with each pattern. Although an architecture can be designed out the specific technology in mind, I usually find that ignoring the technology often leads to an architecture design that isn't specific enough to actually be used.

It is also rare and unrealistic to think that you're going to be designing an architecture for an unknown technology. I always know what the environment is that I am going to be implementing in, at least that's been my experience. There may be several technologies used in the same environment, like the mobile environment that I am currently architecting. I do know the environment includes C#, Java, Objective-C, and ASP.NET MVC. I am therefore placing constraints on the architecture based on the fact that all these languages will be used for certain parts of it.

One of the coolest parts of the book is the appendix 'From quality attributes to patterns'. The appendix first gives a very nice overview of what quality attributes are. It continues with the section that explains how quality attributes are matched with patterns. There is then a very large table of quality attributes which are mapped to concrete attributes, sample scenarios, relevant pattern, and the chapter but you can be found it.

The author's writing style makes this book very easy to read. Each pattern is very well explained and the author makes great use of UML diagrams and other visualizations.

If you're going to purchase just one SOA patterns book, you should make it this one. Every software architect should have this book on their shelf.

SOA Patterns

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Tad Anderson has been doing Software Architecture for 18 years and Enterprise Architecture for the past few.

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