Sunday, 14 August 2011

Book Review: Oracle ADF Enterprise Application Development Made Simple

There are very few pieces of software where a casual approach can be taken to the process of software development. Software development is intrinsically a difficult process, gathering requirements, design, development and testing all taking large effort. In reaction enterprises have setup and adopted strict development processes to build software (or at least the successful enterprises have ;-).

ADF and JDeveloper are sold as productivity boosters for developers. Yet in the end they are just a technology platform. By themselves they don't solve the complexities of software development process as a whole (though they do make parts of it easier).

This leaves IT departments struggling, as they might like the potential of ADF as a platform, but they intrinsically know there's more to software development, there's the process of development to consider. How will the tasks of requirement gathering, design, development & testing be applied to ADF? And more importantly how to shortcut the process of establishing these for ADF within the enterprise? There's a need to bring the two concepts together, the technology & the process, to help the adoption of ADF in the enterprise.

As ADF matures we're slowly seeing more books on Oracle's strategic JSF based web framework. Up to now the books have focused on the holistic understanding of the technical framework, the tricky & expert level implementation, or more recently the speed of development. Sten Vesterli's Oracle ADF Enterprise Application Development - Made Simple is the first to apply the processes and methodologies of design and development to ADF.

Of particular delight Sten's book starts out by suggesting building a proof of concept to skill up teams in ADF, to learn the complexities, & gather empirical evidence of the effort required. From here a focus on estimation and considerations of team structure are raised, all valuable stuff for the enterprise trying to control the tricky process of software development.

In order to make use of reuse, the next few chapters focus on the infrastructure and ADF constructs that need to be setup before a real project commences, including page templates, ADF BC framework classes and more. This is the stuff you wish you'd been told to create first if you forged ahead in building with ADF without any guidance.

Then chapter by chapter the tasks of building, adding security, internalization and other development efforts are covered. There's even a chapter on using JMeter to stress test your ADF app (with a link back to my blog! Thanks Sten).

As can be seen from the topics, there's relatively little consideration of actually implementing ADF Business Components or ADF Faces RC. As such it must be said reading this book won't make you an expert in the technical side of ADF, but rather will address how you can take a sensible approach to the overall development process.

All in all Sten Vesterli's Oracle ADF Enterprise Application Development - Made Simple is another valuable book in my ADF bookshelf and a recommended read for enterprise specialists looking at adopting ADF into their organisation.

Disclaimer: I know Sten personally and in addition Packt Publishing has provided me Sten's book for free to review.

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