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IBM WebSphere Application Server: The Complete Reference

IBM WebSphere Application Server: The Complete Reference

Diogenes is a startup software manufacturing company that develops products to integrate applications over the Internet. We were looking for a book to help us integrate our product, iMercury, into IBM's WebSphere Application Server. iMercury is a 100% Internet-designed Java messaging product that is lightweight, self-configuring, RSA security-enabled, and provides automated installation and configuration. I stumbled onto Ron Ben-Natan and Ori Sasson's IBM WebSphere Application Server: The Complete Reference. Given my pleasant experience with their previous book, IBM WebSphere Starter Kit, I felt that this would be a good reference source for the WebSphere Application Server.

But they lied! The title misrepresents the book. It's much more than a complete reference for IBM WebSphere Application Server. It covers the entire WebSphere brand and the Internet technologies it supports in clear, easy-to-understand English.

This book is ideal for developers, system administrators, system architects, and managers. Developers get an overview of the different technologies with simple, clear examples. References are given if additional detail is required. System administrators have a source that provides information on installing, starting, and troubleshooting WebSphere. System architects and managers will enjoy this single reference which covers all the hot Internet topics from EJBs, connection pooling, to Web services. The readers will also love the CD-ROM that comes with trial versions of the WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere Server, WebSphere Studio Application Developer, and VisualAge for Java (I would buy the book just for the CD).

What's Included
The book is massive, with over 967 pages full of relevant content (as opposed to tons of irrelevant GUI screen shots in other books). The type is easy to read with concise examples and GUI screen shots where appropriate. It's divided into nine parts, each building logically on the previous one.

The first part introduces the reader to the WebSphere brand, including installing and starting WebSphere. It introduces HTTP servers, servlets, JSPs, and EJBs. In the second part, the authors go into more detail and introduce CORBA, Internet Inter-RB Protocol, XML, Java security, Java Messaging Service (a personal favorite of mine), and J2EE. The third part provides an overview of the WebSphere development environment; specifically WebSphere Studio Application Developer and VisualAge for Java. While this book will help you get started with these development environments, serious developers will want to purchase additional books.

Part four focuses on the core components of the WebSphere Application Server. For us, this was the most relevant area. The book's explanation of WebSphere's connection pooling, data access beans, logging, and security services provided the knowledge necessary to understand how to exploit these features.

Part five goes into detail on servlets and JSPs. On servlets, it focuses on various types of HTTP servlets and servlet sessions (including how to handle cookies). The servlet sessions start with general issues and then drill down to WebSphere-specific issues, such as error handling and the WebSphere Session Tracking API. The JSP section also starts with general elements and drills down to the IBM-specific JSP tags. The authors then give a multitude of examples (over 19 pages), and discuss the "JSP complexity problem." Part five concludes with a detailed discussion of debugging servlets and JSPs.

Part 6 discusses everybody's favorite subject: EJBs, those magical code entities that are the solution to every problem. The book explains EJBs, providing realistic comments on stateless and transaction beans, their features and limitations. Everything from entity beans to Message-driven Beans is explained, concluding with how to use EJBs in a multitiered application.

Part seven deals with today's hottest technology: XML and Web services. The authors explain how to use XML by giving e-business application examples and then discuss Web services: SOAP, WSDL, and UDDI. Part eight discusses internationalization and localization issues.

Finally, but most important for system administration, part nine discusses administrating WebSphere sites. This very important section discusses how to configure WebSphere for high availability. It also explains how to use the administrative console and its tools, and administer security. Frankly, I would have preferred to see this section closer to the the front of the book.

Conclusion
IBM WebSphere Application Server: The Complete Reference is a comprehensive book that's an ideal for any WebSphere administrator or developer. It would also be useful to any person who wants to understand the components of Internet development.

More Stories By Richard Gornitsky

Richard Gornitsky is a WebSphere Portal architect with IBM's Software Services for Lotus. His expertise is in integrating WebSphere Portal into Fortune 500 firms from concept to production. Richard?s 23 years of industry experience includes finance, insurance, telecommunications, pharmaceutical, software manufacturing, and retail/distribution. He has experience in the full life cycle development of high transaction solutions, which includes simultaneously managing multiple large complex application development projects. Richard is a requested technical speaker and is a coauthor of Wiley Technology Publishing?s Mastering WebSphere Portal.

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