Selling the theory for SOA is pretty easy, the execution is harder because technically it isn't actually a very simple thing to do, let alone the changing of the structure of your IT organisation to house-keep.
The book SOA Approach to Integration is aimed fairly and squarely at the Architect and Senior Developer who has the job of designing and implementing SOA technical level. The book is very resolute in keeping a strong focus on the technology and pleasantly realises that successful integration needs to take place across technological boundaries. Seems pretty obvious but I have a whole host of SOA books gathering dust because they lean heavily towards one technology and one approach. This book refreshingly avoids that, even avoid tasty new SOA areas such as composite applications and REST.
The book takes the reader through the basic principles using patterns to demonstrate many classic integration techniques. Sample code in Java and .Net and takes you through the interoperability story between these two mainstream development environments. Sadly this is where I found my first real criticism of the book, the book does not cover Microsoft .Net 3.0 and WCF or indeed any of the work performed by the Open SOA group such as SCA and SDO. I know that both technology frameworks are on version 1 but developers will be keen to use these frameworks and will feel license to do so as they aren't in beta.
One of the major problems with writing highly technical books is communicating complex points, this isn't very easy without diagrams. The book excels here because it's stuffed full of them, 92 diagrams (or there about's) and many a point sails across because of them.
Most of my list of key SOA points are covered but the books core strengths are BPEL, XML Schema's, Web Services and establishing an ESB, subjects it deals with a high degree of expertise second to none. However specific applications are not mentioned much but one of the clear aims of this book is to stay tech-neutral and keep to the keys points and I would like to thank the authors for that. It is a rare treat to see advice separate from opinion.
So would I use this book to advise me on my next SOA project? Most certainly yes! I can see it being my companion to many a design meeting and delving into it's pages for nuggets of advice. However comprehensive this book is not, thankfully it would therefore become a huge unwieldy tome and no use to man nor beast so I thank the authors that they keep things brief and to the point and at 351 pages not something that is going to weigh your brief-case down.
One very small point, I have been reading this book over Christmas and not one person thought to pick me up for reading a 'techie book' I suspect this is down to rather delightful butterfly on the cover. I wonder how many times that saved me from washing up?
Book: SOA Approach to Integration
Authors: Poornachandra Sarang, Frank Jennings, Matjaz Juric, Ramesh Loganathan
Publisher: Packt Publishing
Here from Amazon UK , Barnes and Noble & Packt