21 July 2013

Oracle SOA Suite 11g Performance Tuning Cookbook - a Few Words From the Author

This has been a big week for C2B2, and in particular, for myself and Nick, as it has seen the publication of our first book – The Oracle SOA Suite 11g Performance Tuning Cookbook – published by Packt and available from their website, Amazon, etc. This is the culmination of around 9 months of hard work, which has been at times both exhausting and rewarding, but now it is all done it is great to see it in print.

This project started when Packt emailed me, asking if I would be interested in authoring a book on Oracle SOA Suite performance. I must have been in a particularly enthusiastic mood, as the thought of spending the next 9 months working full-time on customer sites, and then another 4 hours a night on the book sounded appealing. I discussed the project with Steve and others at C2B2, as well as with my father (who has written quite a few books) and decided that it sounded like a good project, but that it would work better if it was a collaboration between myself and two of my team. Nick quickly agreed to do it, and between us we started wading through the paperwork that Packt sent to us, to put together the list of recipes, chapters and page counts. This turned out to be probably the most mentally draining part of the whole exercise. Normally when I write, I sit down and start typing, jumping backwards and forwards through to document to add sections and rewrite old paragraphs, or add new detail. This time we were being asked up-front to come up with the whole structure of the book, including how many pages each recipe would be. 

While there are quite a few books around about SOA Suite development and administration, there is not much around with a specific performance focus, and as an expensive and key part of many organizations SOA deployment, it is important to get as much performance out of your SOA Suite system as you can. Early on, we decided to take a “bottom-up” approach to structuring the chapters in the book, starting with some chapters on basic principles (identifying problems, monitoring, testing) before working up through the infrastructure stack (OS, JVM, Application Server, SOA suite engines, architecture). We felt this approach was a nice combination of logical grouping that allows people to dip into the book for the recipes that they feel are most appropriate, while still providing a logical progression of knowledge for those that like to read from cover to cover.

Once the topics were all decided, we made the decision to start writing immediately, before the contracts were in place. We knew there was a risk that contract negotiations might break down, but we were confident that any material we did write would find a good use (blog posts and articles on the C2B2 website) if the book never took off. The contract negotiations ended up dragging on until just before Christmas last year, by which time we had completed nearly four chapters (one third of the book), although these all needed converting into the correct templates for Packt, a task which involved much arguing with MS Word. 

We completed the first drafts by April, and then went into the first of a number of rounds of editing and reviews. This turned out to be not nearly as complex as I was expecting, especially given we were already at the upper bound for page-count and so we were unable to add much more detail into the book. Finally, at the end of May, after an exhausting final sprint to get everything in, we submitted the final drafts to Packt. A few weeks later we received the proofs, although by this time I was too exhausted to come through them looking for small mistakes, and after a couple more weeks, the book was uploaded to the printers for production of the hard copies.

It has been an interesting, exhausting, but ultimately enjoyable experience. I have already had a number of offers to write more books, but for the next year at least, I am going to take a break and spend some more time with my family, hobbies, and sleeping. Keep your eye out though; I already have ideas for what I would like to write about next, and with Oracle SOA Suite 12c just around the corner, a second edition of this book is a distinct possibility.

Now the book is out, we are hard at work organising follow-on events, such as a rerun of our popular SOA Suite performance workshop and a live webinar where people can submit their SOA Suite performance questions in advance, for dicsussion on the webinar. We hope to give away free signed copies of the book at both of these events (with possible caveats about where we will post copies to from the webinar), or if you already have a copy, feel free to bring it along to the workshop to get it signed.

Oracle SOA Suite 11g Performance - Interactive Surgery Session 
Monday, 9th of September 2013, 4pm - 5pm

Submit your performance problems for our experts to analyse during the webinar and you can win a copy of ‘Oracle SOA Suite 11g Performance Tuning Cookbook'!

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