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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:

You can purchase WebLogic Bible from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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BEA WebLogic Server Bible

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  • Vendor lock-in (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MSBob ( 307239 ) on Wednesday September 25, 2002 @11:09AM (#4327472)
    Isn't the purpose of J2EE to avoid vendor lock-in? If that is the case then a generic EJB book coupled with the WebLogic manual should do the trick. Otherwise (and that is my suspicion) J2EE has failed to create a level playing field for application server vendors. 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.

    There is a plethora of Open Source tools out there now that help you avoid vendor lock-in by providing a common interface to vendor specific settings (XDoclet) or actually give you a full fledged app server to begin with (JBoss). A book covering those tools would have a much more lasting value. Not to mention a book on good enterprise application design...

  • Small niche ? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MosesJones ( 55544 ) on Wednesday September 25, 2002 @11:11AM (#4327491) Homepage

    $819.8m revenue in a year is not "niche" in my book. Slashdot editors yet again demonstrate their inability to understand that the corporate enterprise market is a billion dollar industry which contains lots of professionals for whom "cool scripts" "Perl" "PHP" and "MySQL" exist only to cause issues.

    The Application Server market is over 2 billion dollars a year.

    Niche my arse
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 25, 2002 @11:13AM (#4327502)
    having worked with them in the past, we had to decline the use of their system simply because they were making the same exact mistakes as so many before them have. We needed their system as PART of an integration solution. However, even though they spouted more buzz words that we liked (like: :open and published standards", "data, logic and presentation abstraction", "platform independence" (sorta), and "component based for easy integration") we found that in fact many of the parts were very hard coded. We even found that in order to add some custom or third party components (mainly servlets) that did various things to the entire system, they said it could only be done if we set up either a separate instance of Apache (and Tomcat) or an entire separate system. According to them, it was an issue that the components could not be added to. Hmmm, sounds like a bad design to me. Well, they lost a ton of money and I sincerely hope they have produced a true component system that can interchange now. In other words, if I need or want to use another component to do some functionality of one they offer, then I should easily be able to switch them out.

    If they have made their system like that, then I would be happy to use it in the future (instead of custom coding under a tight schedule)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 25, 2002 @11:14AM (#4327505)
    I'm currently looking into PHP and MySQL, since the Microsoft ASP servers are so expensive to put on the net. But even if this book is very cool and such, I miss some plain old tutorials that explains simpler Java examples

    PHP and MySQL has nothing to do with Java. Using open source buzzwords to get karma

    I know JBuilder comes with weblogic (or was it another EJB-compatible server?),

    Comes with Borlands home-built app server.

    anyways, configuring tomcat and all that still makes the platform a little hard for starters like me.

    Tomcat isn't a full-fledged J2EE server (tomcat only handles servlets and jsps. NOT EJBs).

    I miss compiled html files format help guides

    Most app servers (Weblogic included) comes with these.
  • by MSBob ( 307239 ) on Wednesday September 25, 2002 @11:19AM (#4327543)
    That's cuz you haven't tried Websphere yet. That's a piece of junk if I ever so one. Overpriced, overhyped and underachieving. They shipped WS5.0 saying it's a EJB2.0 app server but... they did not implement CMP2.0! I mean give me a goddamn break! The main difference between 1.1 and 2.0 is the new CMP stuff! Eclipse rocks but Websphere app server is a steaming pile of crap.
  • by pbur ( 88030 ) on Wednesday September 25, 2002 @11:20AM (#4327553)
    The organization I work for has just dumped weblogic in favor of Jrun mostly because Weblogic was too bloated and needs to be restarted too often for the simplest changes (like adding a database connection). Not to mention its price. At $15k/CPU, it's a bit pricey and Jrun does all of it at a much lower resource footprint and less restarts (actually, not many at all) for only $1k/CPU.

  • Re:Vendor lock-in (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MSBob ( 307239 ) on Wednesday September 25, 2002 @11:26AM (#4327597)
    And you recon that's ok? I think that if we have a standard that is so underspecified that half of the spec is left up to vendor's imagination we have no spec to speak of. Unless I can deploy my app on any compliant app server without changing my code (some configuration is OK but not code) the promise of J2EE is a failed one. I do not want to get suckered into Bea's or IBM's upgrade treadmill just because they decided to implement stuff 'their way' or because the spec was underdefined. Sun must get their act together soon and clean up J2EE's grey areas.
  • by pmz ( 462998 ) on Wednesday September 25, 2002 @12:37PM (#4328323) Homepage
    More people probably died from cancer or auto accidents in the last five minutes than died on Sept. 11. Where are your priorities, Anonymous Coward?

Real Programmers don't write in PL/I. PL/I is for programmers who can't decide whether to write in COBOL or FORTRAN.