Monday, 12 December 2011

Oracle Weblogic Server 11gR1 P2: Administration Essentials

I was recently asked to review Oracle Weblogic Server 11gR1 P2: Administration Essentials by Michel Schildmeijer and I was some what apprehensive at first. After all, my blog is about Java development; a personal notebook detailing stuff I need to know, plus... this was a book on Weblogic Server administration.

Then it struck me that, as a developer, how many times I’ve had to configure a server of some kind, be it Weblogic, Tomcat, JBoss or Glassfish. And, every time I do configure a server, I’ve often thought how great it would be to have a handy, succinct, easy to read guide available to ensure that I’m doing it right and I now think I have my book for configuring Weblogic.

Down as an admin guide I first thought that it would be a case of “click here”, “click there”, “do this” et voila! The thing you were trying to do has been done. So I was presently surprised when I discovered that the book also contains a lot of background material and useful information, starting with basic concepts and moving on to the more advanced stuff.

For example, chapter 7 on connecting Weblogic to the outside world using JDBC and JMS is something that as a developer I’ve done time and time again. The chapter starts by simply defining the basic terminology of JDBC and JMS and then moves on to explaining them in detail and how Weblogic relates implements them and finally tells you how to configure them - a pattern used throughout the book

The style is friendly and readable and it doesn’t hang about as the book is well edited and gets straight to the point - the clue being in the title “Administration Essentials”.

How the book is divided up

The book uses one of my favourite techniques for making what could be a really dry subject readable: that of telling a related story. In this story, you are a fictitious technical consultant to a fictitious company whose outdated infrastructure needs renewing, and you are providing the solution by installing Weblogic...

The first eight chapters follow the story to the letter, starting with an introduction in chapter 1 to Weblogic architecture, domains and managed servers. Chapters 2 to 8 are the heart of the fictional story, starting with installing Weblogic, where it’s installed to, configuring a domain and the options you can choose. By chapter 4, you’re into controlling Weblogic using both the admin console and command line tools, which leads into chapter 5 on managed servers and the Node Manager. In chapter 6, you’re deploying your fictitious company’s applications. Chapter 7 on JBDC and JMS I’ve already covered, whilst chapter 8 moves on to clustering best practises.

The book then moves in to new territory: chapter 9 talks about the Java virtual machine giving a brief overview on how it works and how to configure it. Having talked about both the JRocket and Sun versions of the JVM, chapter 10 looks at troubleshooting, common problems, what to do if something goes wrong and what diagnostic tools are at your disposal. Chapter 11 looks at Weblogic logging and includes where to find the different logs, different ways of viewing them, and how to configure them.

Chapter 12 is a brief overview of security - I say brief as security is a complex subject that usually demands a book in its own right. The book ends on chapter 13 with an overview of WLST - the Weblogic Scripting Tool, something as a developer I’ve not used too often.

So, what do I think?

This book is a very good grounding in Weblogic, it’s short and concise, which I like. It should not be mistaken as a book for guru’s; it knows its audience and fits its niche nicely, covering the basics and moving on to an intermediate/advanced level. There will be those times, and I’ve been there, where some weird thing is happening with your cluster. This book won’t be able to help when this happens and you’ll need a Weblogic consultant who, if they’re smart, will probably be carrying their own copy of this book.

In short, it’s currently my favourite book on the Weblogic Server.

No comments: