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May 31, 2007

Dr. Gernot Starke

SOA-Expertenwissen erschienen...

ab heute (30. Mai 2007) gibt's fast 900 Seiten geballtes SOA-Expertenwissen
als Buch - herausgegeben von Stefan Tilkov und mir :-) verfasst von 50 namhaften (deutsch & internationalen!) SOA-Cracks...

Wir haben eine hoffentlich informative Website dazu aufgebaut (designed by Dirk Hesse).

Eine ausführliche Ankündigung mit vielen Download-Links hat Stefan geblogt.

by Dr. Gernot Starke at May 31, 2007 07:57 AM

May 30, 2007

Stefan Tilkov

SOAX: SOA-Expertenwissen - Praxis, Methoden und Konzepte serviceorientierter Architekturen

Cover SOA-Expertenwissen

I’m happy to announce that we have finalized the web site for our (German) SOA book, which should be available now in an online store near you. I should point out that I only authored a single chapter on my own (about REST, of course), co-authored three others together with Gernot Starke, but apart from that — also together with Gernot — only took care of collecting, selecting, and reviewing the contributions from an impressive list of authors, virtually all of them very well-known in the German speaking countries.

You can download the preface — written by the great Anne Thomas Manes —, the introduction and the basics chapter (both written by Gernot and me), as well as check out information about the authors, among them my innoQ colleagues Thomas Bandholtz (who authored a chapter about SOA and Semantics), Phillip Ghadir (who wrote about REST and unexpected service consumers), Roman Roth (value-add oriented service design), and Hartmut Wilms (Microsoft WCF). You can also watch the site’s blog planet for news postings.

The web site, BTW, was designed by Dirk Hesse, whose ability to improve by taking away continues to amaze me.

May 30, 2007 10:48 AM

May 22, 2007

Dr. Gernot Starke

SOAX: Leseproben online

Der dpunkt-Verlag hat zum Buch SOA-Expertenwissen nun einige
Leseproben online. Viel Spass beim Schmökern.

Übrigens ist auch die neue Version der Website zum Buch seit einigen Tagen live, nunmehr basierend auf Textpattern und einem ordentlichen Design.

by Dr. Gernot Starke at May 22, 2007 02:10 PM

April 06, 2007

Dr. Gernot Starke

SOAX: Our Toolchain for Editing and Writing

Together with Stefan I took the adventure of editing the 750+ pages (german) SOA-Expertenwissen book. It took us nearly 12 month to complete, time enough to gain some (further) experience with the various tools that helped us master this quest (btw: I'll surely talk about several aspects of the books' content in future posts here).
Let us start right at the beginning, some nice day in May 2006: Günther Fuhrmeister motivated both of us to start - and we began with sketching and refining the books' mainline, its goals, motivation and target audience. Call it distributed brainstorming what we did by then - Mindmaps (based on MindManager) provided the needed support for creativity and order. Just in case you don't practice mindmapping: start with it, no kidding!

Ok - we developed the initial structure and many ideas for prospective authors (around 40 by June/July 2006) - but how to organize that many (distributed) contributors? We used the web-only database DabbleDB to get things going: Both editors and the publisher could get a timely overview of the books' progress. It took about 2-3 month to discuss individual contributions with the designated authors, to re-align the structure according to the ongoing discussions with the authors.

When the structure stabilized and we received the first couple of contributions, we set up a subversion repository (remotely accessible) and transfered the contents of our Dabble-database to an outliner document (we editors both use Macs, so OmniOutliner was the first choice here). First little problem here: OmniOutliner documents are stored in directories (not in single files) - subversion sometimes doesn't like that... be prepared for trouble in case of conflicts...

Right - subversion saved our neck several times. Never ever begin a real-world IT project without version control in place. Never. (You DID know that, did you?)

Starting September/October, contributions (and new authors) flooded our desks. All authors stuck to Microsoft Word (tm) for their texts - but diagrams were drawn in a variety of formats (mostly Visio, Powerpoint and OmniGraffle, a few with OpenOffice). No problem here - the publisher could deal with those formats.

Mixing Word-files (doc-format) between Mac and Windows is no problem in just about 94% of all (our) cases. We had more then 50 files to deal with - 3 (three) made real trouble: Hangups and loss-of-formating - on our Macs... can you imagine our disappointment? We called NeoOffice (based on OpenOffice) to the rescue - which managed all problematic files without any disturbance. Changelogs and comments within Word files really helped all stakeholders, although version-management with Word is a nuisance. No way around manually verifying you have the correct document version at hand... which subversion could have done a lot better (merged, detected conflicts) with pure text files.

Then we began setting up the books' website. I initially used RapidWeaver - but we encountered serious problems in committing our website sources (rw3-format). RapidWeaver pretty often crashed upon trying to open updated files - therefore we had to compress them and check-in (commit) the zip-files. Unneccessary burden! We'll switch to the textpattern content management system (I'm still very happy with RapidWeaver for my own website, which I manage on my own... Conclusion: RapidWeaver is not ready for distributed workgroups).

My personal conclusion:

  • MindManager and OmniOutliner to structure and manage - yes, again, with pleasure.

  • Word (tm) for writing and editing: A compromise, and not a pretty good one: It distracts authors from producing contend, suffers from severe featuritis and (unneccessarily) motivates everybody (myself included!) to care about the most worthless aspect of writing: layout. We all wasted hours with layouting - let publisher care about that (they do it faster and better!).

  • Next time I will talk my publisher into some pure textual format (like markdown, textile or some of those evil xml-dialects)... just to refrain myself from that layouting mumbo-jumbo. Markup'ed files can be spell-checked as (least as) good as doc-files, changes between versions can often be resolved by subversionn.

  • Ok - once upon a time I tried DITA - which I found to be a straight overdose of markup.

  • RapidWeaver: Only for personal sites with one editor.

  • If you manage distributed teams and do NOT know skype, look for another job.

  • Writing books on a Mac is surely more fun than on other machines, but still a lot of work (oh - you could have guessed that before...).

Further references

  • A series of posts from Pragmatic Dave on writing books...

  • Frank Jagla pointed me to Ulysses - which I did not use so far, but it looks promising.
  • by Dr. Gernot Starke at April 06, 2007 10:59 PM

    March 26, 2007

    Stefan Tilkov

    SOAX: SOA-Expertenwissen

    Together with Gernot Starke, I’m proud to be an editor of a new, German book on SOA. It’s called “SOA-Expertenwissen”, and — if everything goes as planned — will be available in May. has an entry for it already. I’ll likely do a few posts within the next few weeks and months in German — this is mainly to let my English-speaking readers know what all those posts with “SOAX” in the title are about (Gernot and I are syndicating our blog posts to the book web site this way).

    March 26, 2007 02:07 PM

    Dr. Gernot Starke

    SOAX: Gerade im Layout

    das Buch "SOA-Expertenwissen", (Hrsg. Stefan Tilkov & Gernot Starke) befindet sich gerade im (finalen) Layout beim dpunkt-Verlag. Wir rechnen mit über 650 Seiten - Erscheinungstermin ist momentan noch mit Anfang/Mitte Mai geplant. Alles wird gut :-)

    by Dr. Gernot Starke at March 26, 2007 09:52 AM

    Buchcover SOA-Expertenwissen

    Hrsg. Gernot Starke & Stefan Tilkov, dpunkt-Verlag 2007, 886 Seiten, Mit Beiträgen von 50 internationalen SOA-Experten

    Bestellung: bei Amazon kaufen