Instant Corba by Orfali, Harkey & Edwards
Luckily, there are better books about Corba than this.
All in all, it seems to me that this book was written very quickly using the technique of writing out lists of vendors or lists from the specifications in order to pad out what little actual material the authors have produced themselves. The book is a substantial disappointment and I give it three out of ten.
First, a word about style. If you are irritated by the idea of a book that tries really hard to be all about funny little Martians being blown away by the sheer coolness of CORBA on the internet then do not touch this book. It's not clever, it's not funny and, unlike John Gray's books, it does not serve a purpose of illustrating any particular concepts.
Next, a word about the title. It is misleading. The book is about CORBA applications distributed over the internet to form what the authors refer to as the Object Web. If you want a book to tell you about using CORBA in another contect, then this is the wrong book.
The book is split into four parts with a recommendation that reading parts 1 and 4 will give a non-technical introduction to CORBA and that parts 2 and 3 form more technical material which may be skipped.
Well, if that is the case, why not put the fourth part after the first and before the two technical sections?
Part one starts off with what the authors call a gentle introduction to CORBA, moves on to discuss the use of CORBA with Java and then gives a round up of the players and products in the CORBA-Java arena.
Just about every other CORBA book that I have seen has a better introduction to the subject and I fail to see the point of a listing an comparison of ORB vendors in what purports to be a quick introduction. This type of material is better left in an appendix.
If, as you read the book, you want to refer back to earlier material, you may become very frustrated by the index. When I wanted to look up the acronym "IR", I found that it was not in the index but I did find that the term "Implementation Repository" was allegedly mentioned on page 46. It wasn't. Further reading of the index showed that IR could also have referred to the "Interface Repository" which, the index alleged, was refered to on among others page 13 and page 46. It was not mentioned here but there was a reference to the Implementation Repository on page 13 despite the silence of the index on the subject.
Part four, deals with the future of CORBA. As you read that, you will come to realise that the book is now out dated and is in need of a rewrite. Many of the things described here, such as the Portable Object Adapter have already become established parts of the CORBA landscape.
Part 4 closes with a look at the future of the web. I'm afraid that what they write has only a little to do with CORBA and is, in any case, pure speculation. Like many other sections, it did not really seem to belong in a book called Instant CORBA.
The technical sections, in parts two and three made substantially more sense than the non-technical parts one and four. I wonder, when I see this kind of thing, if this is the result of the different styles of multiple authors. I liked the introduction to the Dynamic Interface. I thought that this was dealt with better here than in some other CORBA books that are available.
Although parts two and three are described as being technical, that is not really true. They do deal with technical issues but only to the extent of telling you what can be done in CORBA and not how it is done. Certainly it is not a guide to CORBA programming. Perhaps this material would be of use to a programmer with no CORBA knowledge. Such a person might be able to make faster progress with a CORBA programming book after reading the material here but that is about all.
The third part deals with CORBA services and I felt that it comprised too much of just a listof names and functions and not enough of explantion and examples.