Saturday, January 9, 2010

jBPM Developer Guide review - introduction (part I of III)

Click on book to buy!
The book arrived and I will be starting my review. I plan to split the review into three parts to cover this introduction, the first six chapters and finishing up with the last six chapters.

The jBPM Developer Guide is a PACKT publishing offering, which is publishing books on technical subjects for sme time now. They offer good quality books, with nice artwork and feel to them. This one is 350 pages and feels like you should be able to carry it with you as a reference guide to jBPM. PACKT is based in Birmingham, UK but the Credits page lists a team that contains the author (South American), a proof reader, two reviewers (South American) and a list of editors (India mostly).

After reading the Preface I was wondering what these people all did, for they surely can not be proud of the English used. Please don't get me wrong, it is English that is correct, but it is definitely English from a non-native speaker. This is a shame as it degrades the reading experience and is sometimes even down right annoying. I would expect proof readers, reviewers and editing teams to take more care with the final results.

That being said, the contents looks promising with chapters covering:
  • soft introduction to BPM
  • some graph programming and a first process
  • setup of the development enviornment (jBPM, JBoss Drools, JBoss ESB, Maven, MySQL, Eclipse and SVN)
  • jPDL
  • implementing an example process
  • persistence in jBPM
  • Human Tasks with an example
  • process variables
  • looking closer into some advanced features
My initial impressions and questions are:
  • I don't understand why all these technologies have been used in a jBPM Developer Guide (Drools, ESB, Maven, MySQL, Eclipse and SVN)
  • the author gives us "homework" in the first three chapters, but then it just stops until the ninth chapter, rather a shame
  • miss exception handling as an advanced feature?
  • not sure the author has experienced "life in the trenches" with jBPM?
  • why is the focus only on jBPM 3.x and nothing is said about jBPM 4.x, the only actively developed version of jBPM at the time of this books writing?
Well, it is always good to review something with some initial questions, so stay tuned as I explore the book further in the coming weeks.

Onwards to jBPM Developer Guide review part II
Onwards to jBPM Developer Guide review part III