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Keywords: DB2, database, Java, J2EE, application integration, enterprise development, software architecture

Title: Integrated Solutions With DB2

Author: Rob Cutlip and John Medicke

Publisher: IBM Press

ISBN: 0201754851

Media: Book

Level: Software architect

Verdict: Good at the architect-level, not so good for the developer

DB2 remains a central component of the IBM software ecosystem, despite the growing support within IBM of open-sourced applications and middleware. While this book proclaims itself to be targeted at the database developer, architect, designer and manager, it's core audience is the software architect looking at how DB2 fits into the modern distributed systems.

The opening chapters set the context for DB2, firstly in the perceived virtues of the product, (and this being an IBM Press book these are legion, obviously), and secondly in explaining the place of the database in the enterprise software stack. Despite the preponderance of acronyms, the chapter on the 'Web Application Server' does a good job of explaining how the different software components fit together, from J2EE to .NET to Web Services and the role of WebSphere.

This is followed by a chapter which looks at current trends, and this acts as a gateway to a more detailed look at the issues of business integration. This includes material on the important role played by messaging middleware (with a focus on MQ Series, SonicMQ and TIBCO), the different types of integration (including business process integration). While there is an obvious IBM flavour to this chapter, a wide range of products, (including Tomcat and BEA WebLogic), are explored and it gives a good picture of the current landscape. It also stresses the central role, for IBM at least, of the DB2 and WebSphere combination.

Having firmly implanted in the readers mind the issues, and the software components that address them, the book then looks in more detail at five specific business areas: CRM, B2B and B2C systems, Pervasive Computing, eCommerce and Business Intelligence.

The handling of these different areas varies considerably. The chapter on CRM, for example, looks at a specific topic - automated email to customers. It does this at a fairly detailed level, looking at the creation of user-defined functions (UDF) in DB2 using Java. The detail goes right down to the code level, making it ideal for developers wanting to get a head start.

Other chapters are at a higher level of abstraction and provide more of a survey than this kind of hands-on development level. The eCommerce chapter, for example, looks at the kind of n-tier architecture required to deliver successful and scalable ecommerce applications. Static versus dynamic content, database clustering and other high-level issues are also addressed. While it is good at giving a high-level architectural view and discussing the design choices that need to be made, it lacks the detailed implementation material included in the CRM chapter.

Overall the book provides a solid architectural view of application and data integration, discussing both the issues at play and the various design trade-offs that have to be made. It also places the database, and DB2 in particular, at the centre of these integrated enterprise applications. For the jobbing software developer the material provides an insight into the bigger picture but it is not really a book that is aimed at the software developer.

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