Review: Applied Architecture Patterns on the Microsoft Platform

Published On: Dec 9, 2010

When I found out that Stephen Thomas was writing a book about the upcoming technologies with some of the experts in these technologies, I immediately thought to myself I need to read this book.  So after getting my hands on a copy of Applied Architecture Patterns on the Microsoft Platform I found myself with both some interesting reading material as well as a crash course on some of the architectural designs for upcoming and current Microsoft technology. To start off I make my living as a software consultant and I pride myself on my knowledge of many areas of technology, currently in the Microsoft stack.  Because of this I think my view of the book has been slightly skewed, to further complicate things I also view myself as an early adopter oftentimes tinkering with the latest CTP of the developer tools for various new products. The book starts by going across the architectural overview that attempts to set down the parameters for what the rest of the book is built against.  This section of the book is reserved for the youngest among the developer an architect crowd, and I would imagine would be the most skipped out of all the chapters. The next section of the book deals with primers for each of the different technologies that they are working with including windows communication foundation and workflow foundation, app fabric, biz talk, SQL server (SSIS and SSSB) , and windows azure.  These particular chapters I found to be of little help, simply because I keep up with many of the technologies.  However if you are walking into a situation where you know nothing about these technologies, then you might find the primer chapters useful. The next section of the book consists of problems that were picked so that they would meet the needs of the examples.  But while this is not an uncommon practice in the realm of technology education literature, it is slightly frustrating and let me to wonder exactly how well these technologies would perform under real-world circumstances.  The most informative part of the sections includes the side by side comparison of multiple solutions and the bare information provided to develop quick skills with the particular technologies.  In many cases I think the book would be useful in the instance that you needed to have a crash course on one of the technologies that was presented. On the other hand there are some chapters in the book that deal with very specific instances of solving real issues that occur when working with the toolset.  At least one of the chapters in the book deals specifically with an issue that I have encountered before and stepping through the pages for that particular chapter were in many ways like reliving that assignment complete with the solution. But in the end I don’t think most people will read the book the same way I did from cover to cover, and it may not be a great reference for someone looking to update their skills in a particular area.  However if you have been out of touch with the latest offerings from the Microsoft stack for more than two years you may find this book extremely helpful as it gives step by step instructions that will act as an introduction too much broader discussions. In the end the book is a blend of content ranging from very specific instances that function more like a recipe than a tutorial to broad overviews of the technology.  I think that there is a little something for all architects and developers to pull out from this book, and the format allows you to pull out a specific portion of knowledge and digest it without having to go through the entire book.  In this way it represents more of a collection of loosely connected detailed articles than a tome of technical knowledge.  In the end I was not upset with the amount of time spent reading the materials.  I think much of the information that I gained I will be able to put to good use. Pick up your copy at Packt Pub.