Apache CXF Web Service Development - Book Review

This is a review of "Apache CXF Web Service Development" book by Naveen Balani and Rajeev Hathi (Packt Pub, 2009)

Introduction

So here I am, a web services and CXF newbie. :) Oh yes, I have coded one or two web services (maybe even with Apache CXF), but I used copy&paste technique, without understanding what I am really doing. And I really wanted to know more.
I consider my lack of WS knowledge a serious gap in my CV so to say, because the IT world nowadays seems to be crazy about SOAP and REST. One more reason to learn it. So, I was quite enthusiastic before I started to read ...alas, soon my mood changed to disappointment. :(

The Shortest Review Ever

Although the book describes a wide range of Apache CXF features, it is poorly written, poorly edited and could have been much shorter without any loss.

You Will Not Enjoy It

During the lecture of the first part of the book I realized, that I have to struggle to get through each paragraph. This was the first time since ages that I had such problems with understanding (not to mention enjoying) of a technical text. It is not the problem of the complicated concepts (cause they are not so complicated) but rather matter of the bad style full of unclear or meaningless sentences.

The book is packed with smaller and bigger annoying errors, omissions, unnecessary repeated parts, bad editing, lack of clarity, lack of consequence in writing of terms, typos, unclear sentences etc. etc. (I have few examples for each of these if you are interested).
I have read many IT books, but this one is definitely the worst one in this aspect. It looks like no one read it before it was printed.

Ok, I Admit You Can Learn A Lot Here About CXF

The book starts with explanation of WS related concepts and terms. I hoped for nice clarification of these subjects, but it is not explained in a reader-friendly manner. A rookie can easily get lost in plethora of names (JAXB, WSDL, CXF, SOAP) and fail to understand which technology does what in process of sending/receiving/(de)serializing of objects etc. A diagram or two could be very helpful but there is none.

Things get slightly better when it comes to description of Apache CXF. The book contains a lot of useful information about it. It tells you how to implement SOAP or REST-style web service with Apache CXF, how to deploy them etc. Each concept is illustrated by an example (source code is distributed with the book). In fact, I suspect that it covers every typical thing you would like to do with Apache CXF. Alas, all this value is lost in the sea of problems that I mentioned previously.

Conclusion

You can probably treat the shabby style and errors as an extra challenge to your brain and then it is possible that you will enjoy the book. In my opinion the book is hard to read, and Apache CXF deserves a better one.

P.S. I was so disappointed with the style of the book and the plethora of errors that I found there, that I wrote a long email to the publisher (Pack Publishing) giving my opinion on this matter supported by numerous examples. Hopefully next time they will have someone read the book before they publish it !

Links

Re:

I’ve recently got Apache CXF Web Service Development I haven’t really red the entire thing. I was looking to implement a RESTFUL JSON/XML application (with OAUth), while at the same time integrating with BlazeDS and Spring security. I didn’t want my interfaces (services) to be too cumbersome and unreadable (see: annotations) so I gathered some insight out of it. It was very helpful that’s for sure.

The book hit the nail right on the head with CXF's coverage

See my take on the book - The book hit the nail right on the head with Apache CXF's coverage. I've just finished its reading and was pleasantly surprised how well it was written. It completely contradicts your point and wonder how it could go wrong so badly.

Jacek

Ok, I Admit You Can Learn A Lot Here About CXF

I bought this book through amazon a couple of weeks, didn't had any reviews at that time. Bang on, the book needs editing, there are typos, repetitions for a couple of chapters
and then improves. The fact that it covered a lot of CXF stuff and I learned a lot made me good later. The examples were simple, running and clear to get point across, learned a lot about web services using this book over the last 2 weeks. The editing needs to be improved for future revision to make it crisp as one can learn a lot about CXF. Over to amazon for review. astalavista..

Very good book.

I bought this book two months ago. It is really good. You can learn much from this book. I hope one day I can read the apache source code, which will improve my knowledge on web development much more.
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