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Smorgasbord of EAI/B2B technologies
on January 7, 2001
This book presents a smorgasbord of technologies applicable to the B2B domain. These technologies are described very clearly and at the right level for system architects.
The structure of this book is similar to Linthicum's previous book on EAI. Also much of the content overlaps with that book, with new chapters on typical B2B Application Integration standards as XML, BizTalk, RosettaNet. This is both a strength and a weakness I suppose. A strength because a lot of typical EAI technologies also apply to B2B. A weakness because the book is something in between a second edition of a previous book and a really new book.
I was missing a chapter about EDI. EDI is historically one of the most important B2B technologies and by far not dead yet. Despite its shortcomings there are still EDI implementations going on (often as part of ERP implementations, ask the system integrators such as AtosOrigin).
This book also pays minimal attention to front-end B2B technologies with only one chapter about portals with a tiny paragraph about digital exhanges. I would rather have read more about e-marketplaces, and integrations via Ariba/CommerceOne. Also I would like to read more about other front-end and Web technologies as CGI, JSP and servlets, ASP / ISAPI / IIS, control brokers + implications of front-end integrations on back end integrations.
Two of the appendixes deal with integrations with COTS software: the ERP packages SAP and PeopleSoft. It would have been nice if there were also appendices on integrations with the other important ERP packages as Baan, Oracle and JDEdwards, a CRM vendor as Siebel, and SCM vendors as i2 and Manugistics.
The structure of this book is very technology oriented and many technologies are presented very well. However, now you have to consult your customer on which technology to choose, and which EAI/B2B vendor to select. Why do I choose for a portal, or RPC and distributed objects and not for a message broker? And if I choose a message broker, how do I select the right product from the right vendor? How do I formulate my requirements and selection criteria? The book is not very clear on these topics, and it would have been nice if there were chapters on a)relation between business strategy and B2B technology b)selection of B2B technologies and products.
Overall, a good and readable book, but there is always information you want to read that is not covered in this book.