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Enterprise Integration Patterns: Designing, Building, and Deploying Messaging Solutions
by Gregor Hohpe, Bobby Woolf

Addison-Wesley Professional
1 edition
October 2003
736 pages

Reviewed by Lasse Koskela, December 2003
  (10 of 10)

Enterprise Integration Patterns is part of Addison-Wesley's new Martin Fowler Signature Series, which Fowler's Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture (PoEAA) is also a part of. I was very satisfied with PoEAA and the same can be said about Enterprise Integration Patterns. It has the potential to become a classic.

The authors' writing style is a pleasure to read -- no ambiguous statements, no unnecessary babbling. The book is structured to suit both cover-to-cover reading and a "dive-in" approach for situations where you're looking for a solution to a particular problem. After an introduction to the field of enterprise integration, and a discussion of why the book concentrates on the messaging integration style in particular, the reader is given a hierarchical catalog of patterns revolving around a small set of "core" patterns. The book's coverage is in my opinion very well scoped.

I must also praise the look of the book; besides the layout being familiar from prior works and the proven pattern catalog structuring, the authors have used graphics very efficiently. Not only the authors define a vocabulary for integration patterns, but they have also come up with an expressive visual language for illustrating the patterns using simple notations that can be easily drawn without CASE tools.

I found only two downsides for this book. First, the title can be slightly misleading as the book focuses on messaging as an integration style and only briefly mentions alternatives such as RPC, file transfer, and shared databases. However, I don't know a single person who doesn't read the back cover before buying a book, so I wouldn't count this as a big issue. Furthermore, the reason for focusing on messaging is thoroughly argued in the book. The second downside is the code examples, which are presented using varying languages and products and seem somehow disconnected from the text.

In summary, Enterprise Integration Patterns is a great book. It's worth reading and re-reading if you're working with systems integration projects or writing integration software yourself. Yet another book that makes me think, "I wish I had it back then..."

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