I usually hate architecture books. I can’t stand ’em. Seems like every one I’ve ever read has been targeted at architecture astronauts – people who spend all their time talking theory, not practice.
This book is different. Reading this book is like having drinks in the pub with a team of rock star consultants who’ve spent the last year jumping around from one cool project to another. They give you the low-down on all the technologies they’ve been working with, telling you just enough information to help you understand what each technology is used for, but not so much that it’s boring.
Every chapter begins with a business challenge, discusses the requirements, and then compares and contrasts the abilities of various Microsoft tools to answer the business needs. Every tool gets either a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down in four attributes: design, delivery, operations, and organization. After picking the most appropriate tool, the authors show just enough sample code to illustrate how the tool works. You can’t pick up this book and suddenly become a rock star consultant with any of the tools – that’s not the goal. Instead, the goal is to help you pick the right tool for your needs, and then you go learn the right tool instead of trying to use a hammer to fix every problem.
You, dear reader, can pick up this book with no background in architecture, consulting, or the Microsoft stack, and just start skimming. When a business scenario jumps out as interesting, dig deeper into that chapter. Along the way, you’ll learn about a bunch of Microsoft products:
- Windows Communication Foundation
- Windows Server AppFabric
- SQL Server Integration Services
- SQL Azure
- Windows Azure
- Service Broker
Every developer, DBA, and project manager who works with consultants needs this book because it opens your eyes to new solutions you might not have considered before, and it wises you up to real-world weaknesses. This isn’t a sales-pitch whitepaper by somebody’s marketing team – it’s honest material that fesses up where products fall down.
I don’t say this lightly: this was the best tech book I read in 2010. I’m very grateful to Ewan Fairweather, one of the authors, for giving me a copy.
Here’s where to learn more: