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Pro Spring Dynamic Modules for OSGi Service Platforms (Expert's Voice in Open Source) Paperback – February 11, 2009
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About the Author
Daniel Rubio is an independent consultant with over 10 years of experience in enterprise and web-based software. More recently, Daniel is founder and technical lead at MashupSoft.com.
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When I received the book I couldn't hide how happy I was. It was my first book about OSGi and after reading the OSGi spec I really needed a book for more understanding of it. After all those recent books about Groovy and Grails where I could find many real-life examples of their use I thought the book would have been exactly the same. The 1st chapter "Introducing OSGi" was really great. Lots of OSGi coverage with enough details. I did like it a lot. Then, out of the sudden, came out the 2nd chapter about...Spring Framework itself. No OSGi, no Spring-DM. I didn't mean to read a book about Spring itself but Spring-DM at the very least. That is the difference. If the author aimed to fill out the book with some additional pages and to have its readers got bored, that goal was achieved. Why did the 2nd chapter take 60 pages if the 1st took only 40? It remains the mystery. The 3rd chapter was better, but just slightly better. Enough said about OSGi that I was almost convinced I'd find more in the upcoming pages. Then came the 4rd chapter about Spring-DM. But wait, there were only 30 pages about it. How came the book had Pro and Spring-DM in its title?! The chapter 5th "SpringSource dm Server" was the most boring I could find in the entire book. Although I appreciate the efforts to introduce the product to me, I couldn't accept it lasted for almost 60 pages. When you sum up how much content was about OSGi and Spring-DM vs the other stuff you will know why I'm so disappointed. Definitely too much about the other auxiliary tools. The remaining part of the book where OSGi versioning, web application development and testing were discussed was pretty much fine. Don't be fooled by the names themselves though, there're again way too much about how Spring Framework handles it and very little about how OSGi and Spring-DM tackle these tasks. Way too much.
I'd say it could have taken less pages and the book would earn better rating. All in all, if you're looking for a book about OSGi/Spring-DM I'm sure only a few chapters are for you in this book. Don't expect too much to be covered as far as these two technologies go. You'll get disappointed for sure. If only some basic coverage of these topics are acceptable you may get satisfied. I was not. The "Pro" in the title obliges the author to pay more attention to how OSGi/Spring-DM work under the covers. There's far more to be said about OSGi/Spring-DM and "Pro Spring Dynamic Modules for OSGi Service Platforms" only scratched the surface of the topic. You've been warned.
This book is well written and gives a first approach on the subject. In the first chapters, OSGi is explained very simply and you will learn what are the benefits of this technology face to JEE.
Then Dm Spring will be presented. This brings the simplicity of POJOs in the OSGi world, like all the Spring projects.
You do not know anything of Spring? No worries! A brief but sufficient introduction of the Framework will be made, allowing you to follow the book without difficulty.
Other subjects, always revolving around OSGi and Spring, will be covered. This is the case SpringSource server for example. Thus you will learn the extensions it provides to OSGi to facilitate development, especially for JPA.
The tool 'bnd' is also introduced in summary, to explain you how to make a OSGi-compatible JARs without too much effort.
In short, it is an excellent book to start with OSGi and Spring Dm, but for me it does not go deep enough for a book of the "Pro" collection.
One reason for this might be, that after reading the first chapter, it felt like I was reading a manual rather than a book. Personally, I like a little bit more subjectiveness, because it improves the reading experience significantly. The author should spice up the dry material, so you won't get bored that easily. Unfortunately, that's what happened to me - I got bored. However, let's turn the spotlight to the content of the book.
The introduction chapter on OSGi is sufficient to get you up to speed. There are about 60 pages of Spring introduction. However, I think you should at least have some practical experiences with Spring, before digging into Spring Dynamic Modules or even Spring DM Server. It's simply not enough to explain the technicalities, to get someone an understanding of what Spring an its concepts is all about.
There's lot's of code in the book, which you can download and play with. If you like to read code, printed in a book, you are probably gonna like "Pro Spring Dynamic Modules for Osgi". For me, a book is not the preffered media to consume code. I have nothing against small code samples, but having pages over pages full of code, is really confusing and hurts readability.
The manual kind of feeling of the book continues the further you keep reading. Let me give you a concrete example: In chapter 4, called "Spring Dynamic Modules for OSGi", the author explains how the scope attribute of a bean declaration works. Unfortunately, the how is all there is to the explanation. I expected a real life example of when to use the scope attribute and where it might not be suitable. I do understand, that the book can't go into details all the time, but especially those powerful Spring DM features like scoping, deserve more spotlight. Most of the time, the book stops when it gets interesting and you are left with your own imagination of how to apply that particular feature.
Despite the criticism, I got some neat tips from the book. The author suggests to split the OSGi dependent and traditional Spring configuration to make life easier for testing and mocking. I also gained a lot of knowledge from chapter 6, called "Versioning with OSGi and Spring". The author explains the concepts and implementation of versioning most of the time in a very understandable manner.
Overall, I think Pro Spring Dynamic Modules for Osgi(tm) Service Platforms is a reasonable reference book, with a nice sample application. If you are new to Spring and OSGi, you might have a hard time understanding the use case for those technologies, so I'd suggest to get this book as an addition to some basic reading material.