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SOA Design Patterns (The Prentice Hall Service-Oriented Computing Series from Thomas Erl) Hardcover – January 9, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0136135166 ISBN-10: 0136135161 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 800 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR; 1 edition (January 9, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0136135161
  • ISBN-13: 978-0136135166
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 7.2 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #372,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Thomas Erl is a best-selling IT author and founder of™ ®. Thomas has been the world's top-selling service technology author for over five years and is the series editor of the Prentice Hall Service Technology Series from Thomas Erl ( ), as well as the editor of the Service Technology Magazine ( With over 175,000 copies in print world-wide, his eight published books have become international bestsellers and have been formally endorsed by senior members of major IT organizations, such as IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Intel, Accenture, IEEE, HL7, MITRE, SAP, CISCO, HP, and others.


Four of his books, Cloud Computing: Concepts, Technology & Architecture, SOA Design Patterns, SOA Principles of Service Design, and SOA Governance, were authored in collaboration with the IT community and have contributed to the definition of cloud computing technology mechanisms, the service-oriented architectural model and service-orientation as a distinct paradigm. Thomas is currently working with over 20 authors on several new books dedicated to specialized topic areas such as cloud computing, Big Data, modern service technologies, and service-orientation.


As CEO of Arcitura Education Inc. and in cooperation with™ ®, Thomas has led the development of curricula for the internationally recognized SOA Certified Professional (SOACP) and Cloud Certified Professional (CCP) accreditation programs, which have established a series of formal, vendor-neutral industry certifications.


Thomas is the founding member of the SOA Manifesto Working Group and author of the Annotated SOA Manifesto ( He is a member of the Cloud Education & Credential Committee, SOA Education Committee, and he further oversees and initiatives, which are dedicated to the on-going development of master pattern catalogs for service-oriented computing and cloud computing.


Thomas has toured over 20 countries as a speaker and instructor for public and private events, and regularly participates in international conferences, including SOA, Cloud + Service Technology Symposium and Gartner events. Over 100 articles and interviews by Thomas have been published in numerous publications, including the Wall Street Journal and CIO Magazine.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.



The entire history of software engineering can be characterized as one of rising levels of abstraction. We see this in our languages, our tools, our platforms, and our methods. Indeed, abstraction is the primary way that we as humans attend to complexity—and software-intensive systems are among the most complex artifacts ever created.

I would also observe that one of the most important advances in software engineering over the past two decades has been the practice of patterns. Patterns are yet another example of this rise in abstraction: A pattern specifies a common solution to a common problem in the form of a society of components that collaborate with one another. Influenced by the writings of Christopher Alexander, Kent Beck and Ward Cunningham began to codify various design patterns from their experience with Smalltalk. Growing slowly but steadily, these concepts began to gain traction among other developers. The publication of the seminal book Design Patterns by Erich Gamma, John Vlissides, Ralph Johnson, and Richard Helm marked the introduction of these ideas to the mainstream. The subsequent activities of the Hillside Group provided a forum for this growing community, yielding a very vibrant literature and practice. Now the practice of patterns is very much mainstream: Every well-structured software-intensive system tends to be full of patterns (whether their architects name them intentionally or not).

The emerging dominant architectural style for many enterprise systems is that of a service-oriented architecture, a style that at its core is essentially a message passing architecture. However, therein are many patterns that work (and anti-patterns that should be avoided).

Thomas’ work is therefore the right book at the right time. He really groks the nature of SOA systems: There are many hard design decisions to be made, ranging from data-orientation to the problems of legacy integration and even security. Thomas offers wise counsel on each of these issues and many more, all in the language of design patterns. There are many things I like about this work. It’s comprehensive. It’s written in a very accessible pattern language. It offers patterns that play well with one another. Finally, Thomas covers not just the technical details, but also sets these patterns in the context of economic and other considerations.

SOA Design Patterns is an important contribution to the literature and practice of building and delivering quality software-intensive systems.

—Grady Booch, IBM Fellow
September, 2008

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

The book is full of annotated pictures and has formatted patterns very well, making it an easy read.
Kanu Tripathi
The book also contains comprehensive case studies, which demonstrate how a particular pattern would be applied in a realistic environment.
Robert D. Schneider
This book is packed with real-world design patterns and is a great resource for SOA architects and developers alike.
Fred Tibbitts

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 59 people found the following review helpful By J. Brutto on June 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This text provides a wonderful and thorough explanation of base SOA principles. The core definitions are concrete, base references well chosen and contains many useful points for consideration. The key topics are covered in a logical structure and approached in logical order. This makes the text much more useful for building a foundation on SOA than its competitors.

However, the text clearly overstates the issues. The use of non-illuminating case studies coupled with needlessly complex re-definition of key terminology makes this reference sheer overkill. This book provides a key example of taking simple concepts and turning them in on themselves to make them appear much more complex than they really are. I am unsure whether this is because of the author's desire to become the biblical reference that Distributed Systems: Principles and Paradigms is or if it is simply because the author wants to make the topic seem more intellectually difficult to grasp than it really is.

I do not want to take away from the value of the content covered, but there are much more succinct and light-hearted publications that will lead you to the same base understanding. It is VERY wordy and over-stated, but it is worth having in your stack of SOA, Web Services, etc. etc. etc. reference stack. If for nothing else, than key citations and consideration points.

Possibly the most value thing I got from this book was the ability to ask additional questions and put key things to consideration that would have otherwise been missed. Sometimes the most obvious things are taken for granted and hence overlooked -- this book touches on that wonderfully.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Silverstein on May 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I think this book shares the same defect as the rest of the books in the SOA/Erl series: it's essentially an over-modeled collection of diagrams and abstractions with little real information, wrapped in advertising for the Erl/SOA brand. The modeling reaches the point of absurdity when models are given to depict where you are in the process or pattern, and when diagrams are used in place of concise text. (I kid you not; there's one "pattern" where the text makes the vapidly obvious claim that large problems can be broken into smaller ones, and large solutions can be broken into smaller ones, then proceeds to model that claim with two large diagrams of large problems and large solutions being broken into smaller problems and smaller solutions, respectively.)

Each pattern has lots of abstract claims and diagrams, and then is usually followed by a snippet of an XML configuration file with the one line that characterizes the "pattern" in bold. IOW, the whole pattern could have been reduced to one paragraph with an XML snippet. I don't have the book in front of me, but to give you an example of what I'm talking about, imagine a whole chapter on the "Services Security Pattern" with fifty pages of text and block diagrams talking at a high level about how security is important (including large diagrams that model concepts like [User] -> [Login] -> [Authentication], followed by an XML web service configuration file snippet that enables the use of WS-Basic.

I get the impression that these books are just promotional material for the class that Erl & Co. are trying to get readers to pay for.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Carlos E. Perez on August 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In summary, the SOA Design Patterns book isn't structured with the same rigor and coherence as other Design Patterns books. The content is unusually wordy and repetitive. There are a lot of diagrams but a majority of them provide little insight. The book takes well known concepts in computer science and regurgitates them as design patterns essentially taking what is obvious and making them obscure. Despite the poor quality of most of the book, its saving grace is that there are but a few patterns that have been submitted by contributors that are of a high quality.

However considering the pervasively poor quality of SOA books in general, I'm going to say it is one of the more valuable SOA books. Even if this bar is extremely low, this is of the few SOA books where you can indeed find some true nuggets of wisdom. (The book's website has a lot more interesting patterns that weren't published with the book) However, you have to dig very hard and long to find them because the map that is provided can is deliberately obscuring and more of a hindrance than an aid. Read it only if you know what to look for.

More details here: [...].
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Don Franke on September 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book SOA Design Patterns by Thomas Erl offers a very clean and straight-forward explanation of to the many different facets and options of implementing SOA.

I particularly enjoyed Chapter 13: Service Security Patterns and Chapter 20: Service Interaction Security Patterns. Discussed intelligibly in these chapters are security standards such as WS-Security, SAML, WS-BPEL (which goes towards data integrity), XML Encryption and XML Signature. It was for me a good bridge between security concepts I have applied in different areas (such as PKI, Kerberos, etc.) and how to implement these same solutions in a service-oriented architecture.

In addition to the two chapters dedicated to security, I also found the following sections interesting from a security perspective.

Chapter 19-3: Atomic Transaction Services
All tasks, or web services, within a transaction must be followed by an acknowledgement to indicate that the task completed. If no such commit is received by task coordinator defined for the transaction, all the tasks within the transaction can be rolled back (or other mitigating actions can take place.) The web service specifications WS-Coordination and WS-Atomic Transactions can be utilized to employ this safer method of transaction management.

Chapter 19-5: Compensating Service Transaction
This allows for a web service to have an "undo" event, defined at the task level, which can protect the encompassing transactions against individually failing web services. These tasks can operate asynchronously, and the other inline web services are notified when an exception occurs so that they can handle the event appropriately without sacrificing the entire transaction.
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