Book review: Pro WCF: Practical Microsoft SOA Implementation

I recently received a copy of Pro WCF: Practical Microsoft SOA Implementation so I could review it. So did I like the book? Not really [:(]


The problem with the book is that it wants to cover far too much and diverse material. Now covering a lot of material in a book isn’t a bad thing per se but in this case it resulted in a book that doesn’t really server a purpose.

Basically the book is divided into three parts. The first part is titled Introducing Windows Communication Foundation. In fact quite a large section is not about WCF but about SOA. Now there is nothing bad about discussing SOA but WCF isn’t SOA or vice versa so starting a WCF book with a SOA discussion isn’t a good thing as far as I am concerned.

The second part is titled Programming with WCF and this is the part that actually introduces the reader to the basics of WCF and how to use it. I found the examples and text not all that clear. For example the chapter about hosting has a section about self hosting a WCF service and another about hosting the service inside of IIS. The self hosting section seemed to be more concerned with writing a Windows service and the accompanying installer that the actual use of WCF. And the IIS hosting part seems to be more about the differences of all the IIS versions. Admittedly something that is important but I would have preferred more coverage of the WCF specific issues.

The third part is titled Advanced topics in WCF and is actually half the book. The authors cover quite a lot of material in these chapters. The result is that, although a lot is covered, most of the material is not covered to the level needed when actually doing advanced work. So basically the authors let us know about the possibilities without giving a full coverage.

Another, although minor issues, is that the book is written using Visual Studio 2005. This means that for those readers using Visual Studio 2008 some of the steps described are no longer valid.

One thing that did surprise me where the names of the technical reviewers named in the book. It appears two of the three are also part of the team of authors. So much for pear reviews [:(]

So can I recommend this book? No not really as I don’t think this one is up to the standard I have come to expect from the Apress  Pro series. Both for the novice and experienced WCF developer there are better books out there.

3 thoughts on “Book review: Pro WCF: Practical Microsoft SOA Implementation

  1. Without claiming to know every WCF book out there the twp I would recommend are Learning WCF by Michele Bustamante and Inside Windows Communication Foundation by Justin Smith.

    The first book by Michele is more an intro book for when you get started using WCF. The book by Justin Smith is for the hardcore internals.

  2. There is a new book from Packt called “WCF Multi-tier Services Development with LINQ”. This book seems covers only basic WCF stuff yet with extensive examples. It also covers LINQ. You may want ot try this book.

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