This is a continuation of the books I challenged myself to read to help my career - one a month, for year. You can read my first book review here, and the entire list is here. The book I chose for April 2012 was: Applied Architecture Patterns on the Microsoft Platform. I was traveling at the end of last month so I’m a bit late posting this review here.
Why I chose this book:
I actually know a few of the authors on this book, so when they told me about it I wanted to check it out. The premise of the book is exactly as it states in the title - to learn how to solve a problem using products from Microsoft.
What I learned:
I liked the book - a lot. They've arranged the content in a "Solution Decision Framework", that presents a few elements to help you identify a need and then propose alternate solutions to solve them, and then the rationale for the choice. But the payoff is that the authors then walk through the solution they implement and what they ran into doing it.
I really liked this approach. It's not a huge book, but one I've referred to again since I've read it. It's fairly comprehensive, and includes server-oriented products, not things like Microsoft Office or other client-side tools. In fact, I would LOVE to have a work like this for Open Source and other vendors as well - would make for a great library for a Systems Architect. This one is unashamedly aimed at the Microsoft products, and even if I didn't work here, I'd be fine with that. As I said, it would be interesting to see some books on other platforms like this, but I haven't run across something that presents other systems in quite this way.
And that brings up an interesting point - This book is aimed at folks who create solutions within an organization. It's not aimed at Administrators, DBA's, Developers or the like, although I think all of those audiences could benefit from reading it. The solutions are made up, and not to a huge level of depth - nor should they be. It's a great exercise in thinking these kinds of things through in a structured way.
The information is a bit dated, especially for Windows and SQL Azure. While the general concepts hold, the cloud platform from Microsoft is evolving so quickly that any printed book finds it hard to keep up with the improvements.
I do have one quibble with the text - the chapters are a bit uneven. This is always a danger with multiple authors, but it shows up in a couple of chapters. I winced at one of the chapters that tried to take a more conversational, humorous style. This kind of academic work doesn't lend itself to that style.
I recommend you get the book - and use it. I hope they keep it updated - I'll be a frequent customer. :)