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Java Books Media Programming Book Reviews

BEA WebLogic Server Bible 132

RickHigh writes "The BEA WebLogic Server Bible is an enjoyable read. If you have been using WebLogic off and on since before EJB (Enterprise JavaBeans) existed, you will still learn a bunch of new tricks. This is an excellent reference that can be read from cover to cover. The book focuses on small examples with an emphasis of deploying and configuring the examples in the WebLogic environment." BEA's WebLogic is an application server -- as such, it sits in a small enough niche that you won't find a full shelf of helpful books at your local Borders. If hosting applications for a large organization is part of your work, though, you should read on.
BEA Weblogic Server Bible
author Joe Zuffoletto et al
pages 1000
publisher Hungry Minds
rating 5 stars
reviewer Rick Hightower
ISBN 0764548549
summary The WebLogic Bible reference to have on hand.

There are plenty of examples of setting up your WebLogic configuration, with explanations of what the different parameters are and when to use them for Servlets, JSP, EJB, JMS, and more; just what you need when you are having those configuration problems and a great reference to have around when you get stuck. If you like going from concept to implementation, then this is the book for you.

Unlike some other WebLogic centric books, the Bible's coverage of EJB CMP/CMR was good. Also, the coverage of performance monitoring was really well done. And, the ideas for optimization and the thought process behind it was also really well done. These are just a few examples of a really well written technical manual--the missing WebLogic Manual.

A couple areas of concern (some just nits):

1) A few times the examples were WebLogic centric when they could have been written them in a cross platform manner (wrt J2EE ). (Note: A prerequisite of this book is a working knowledge of J2EE.)

2) The EJB examples hard coded the JNDI parameters instead of using the jndi.properties file in the classpath, which is the preferred approach for cross platform J2EE development.

Granted, at times you have to write things WebLogic centric to utilize WebLogic-specific extensions to J2EE, but the book also did this at times when it was not really necessary to do so. A J2EE veteran will catch the difference, and a J2EE novice will not. Bottom line: you should have a working knowledge of J2EE before reading this book and there will not be any problem.

Another problem with the book is that it covers WebLogic 6.1, while WebLogic 7.0 is already out. However, the material is still applicable to WebLogic 7.0. The book was released this year as was WebLogic 7.0. This in an unavoidable problem with books focused on such a target market. By the time they update the 1000-page book to WebLogic 7.0, WebLogic 8.0 will probably be out.

Also, in the next edition they should cover the Weblogic specific Ant tags in addition to the console and other means of deploying applications. Ant is the de facto method for building, deploying and testing J2EE applications, and a book like this should reflect this reality.

If you are new to WebLogic, I suggest that you get this book. If you have been working with WebLogic since before the EJB .8 spec., I suggest that you get this book. This book is not a J2EE tutorial, but it covers the basics and focuses on WebLogic specific areas of concern.

Consider this book recommended.

Links of note:

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BEA WebLogic Server Bible

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  • by FortKnox ( 169099 ) on Wednesday September 25, 2002 @11:08AM (#4327467) Homepage Journal
    Does it cover Weblogic community known hangups?
    Like if you have a large enterprise application running (which is typical if you are running WebLogic), that hotdeploying more than twice tends to cause trouble.
    And that its a wise idea to delete the temp directories between restarts, because weblogic likes to keep stuff in memory, regardless if the files/apps still exist?

    Stuff like that cause many newbie Weblogic developers hours of confusion. I'd like so see it documented in some weblogic texts.
  • Ummm FYI, tim (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 25, 2002 @11:10AM (#4327482)
    BEA's WebLogic is an application server -- as such, it sits in a small enough niche that you won't find a full shelf of helpful books at your local Borders. If hosting applications for a large organization is part of your work, though, you should read on.

    It should be noted that WebLogic is a J2EE app server, so if you are hosting Java/J2EE applications, you should read on.
  • I love Java... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Fnkmaster ( 89084 ) on Wednesday September 25, 2002 @11:15AM (#4327516)
    I love Java as much as the next guy. Well probably even more. But if I never have to touch Weblogic again, that'll be too soon. I know, I know, 6.1 ain't so bad, and I've been away from this POS since before 7.0 came out, but I was one of the serious victims of Weblogic 5.1. Worst piece of commercial software ever - I had an engineer on my time who was devoted for about 2 weeks to being on the phone with BEA to make sure their next SP fixed some serious issues with non-J2EE compliant transaction handling that broke our entire product.

    Frankly, with JBoss 3.0 out, if you do need EJB support in an application, that's a great place to start - 3.0 supports clustering using the excellent JavaGroups system, and this was the MAJOR weakness of 2.x vs. Weblogic.

    And as somebody with more J2EE experience than I would care to admin, you might really want to think about whether spraying EJBs all over an application is the best architectural solution for the problem at hand. Not every "enterprise class web application" needs EJBs. Can you and will you use CMP? If so, then it's worth it, but REALLY make sure CMP will work for your app (by the way, strong CMP capabilities are one area where Weblogic may still shine more strongly than JBoss). Do you need and will you use declarative transactional boundaries? These can certainly come in handy, though you can take advantage of them with session beans, no need to use bulky entity beans if you don't need them.

    By the way - one important thing I should mention - as of 6.1 JBoss was still 2-3x faster than Weblogic 6.1 for all of our applications at my company. YMMV though, depending on the nature of what you are doing, and these weren't formal benchmarks. 7.0 may have finally solved their performance issues - I don't know though, and with my past BEA experiences, I don't think I ever want to know.

  • Re:Vendor lock-in (Score:4, Informative)

    by Kerg ( 71582 ) on Wednesday September 25, 2002 @11:24AM (#4327584)
    Personally I'd rather see a good book on how to effectively set up a J2EE development environment using open source tools such as JBoss, Tomcat, Ant, XDoclet etc

    You can find JBoss related documentation here [jboss.org], both for free and for pay docs.

  • Re:I love Java... (Score:5, Informative)

    by pbur ( 88030 ) on Wednesday September 25, 2002 @11:28AM (#4327612)
    I too love Java. I too hate weblogic and think it is the worst piece of overrated and overhyped software on the planet. Our new preference is Jrun 4.0 (it has quirks, but much better document than JBoss 3.0. At least to me) Lightweight and fast. Runs our stuff in half the time of Weblogic.

    And you comments on EJB are pefect. Our project invested heavily into Entity Beans and we paid a nasty price. We ended up having to rewrite large sections to do their own database work ( under the transaction of a Session Bean ) instead of using Entity beans. They are DAMN slow. And by looking at the Entity design, it seems to be built in to be DAMN slow. We have pretty much gone with just Session beans to do transactions for us and do everything with the database ourselves. That way tou can do a million inserts or updates in a second or 2 instead of hours using techniques not available with Entity Beans.
  • Re:Vendor lock-in (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 25, 2002 @05:38PM (#4331187)
    No, you don't buy '4 1-year contracts of support' if you have a 4-CPU machine. Weblogic (and Tuxedo, for that matter) licensing is based on a tier system. A 4-CPU machine falls into a certain tier, and you pay a set amount based on the hardware and the number of seperate Weblogic domains on that machine: it's one support contract, one license, not four.

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