Thursday, June 18, 2009

BOOK: Microsoft .NET: Architecting Applications for the Enterprise

[This was originally posted at]

As the .Net platform matures (almost version 4.0!), I'm seeing more and more good .Net architecture books coming out. One such book is Microsoft .NET: Architecting Applications for the Enterprise, by Dino Esposito and Andrea Saltarello.


The first section focused heavily on architectural principles. The book was worth getting just for Chapter 3 alone (Design Principles and Patterns), which provided a survey of the various concepts required for high-level architecture, such as OOP, Design Patterns, Structured Design, Separation of Concerns, Dependency Injection, Testability, Security, and AOP.


I also liked their chapter on DataAccess. They made a well-reasoned plug for NHiberante and the maintenance benefits of auto-generated dynamic SQL for the data access layer. I admit that I personally have "grown up" with a bias for code-generated stored procedures, but I can see the changing winds.


Their book is very focused on the standard N-tier layers: DataAccess, BusinessFacade, Service, and Presentation. Here's the table of contents:

  • Chapter 1: Architects and Architecture Today

  • Chapter 2: UML Essentials

  • Chapter 3: Design Principles and Patterns

  • Chapter 4: The Business Layer

  • Chapter 5: The Service Layer

  • Chapter 6: The Data Access Layer

  • Chapter 7: The Presentation Layer

  • Final Thoughts

  • Appendix: The Northwind Starter Kit

The book didn't discuss much on messaging, caching, validation, logging, system integrations, configuration, or other architectural components. However, most applications make or break on the data access strategy, so I can see the focus there. And, you could have an encyclopedia if you wanted to cover every aspect of enterprise architecture.


I found it interesting comparing the book to Fowler's landmark Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture. Indeed, Dino and Andrea continually refer back to patterns in Fowler. The Dino/Andrea book almost seems intended as a sequel to Fowler's - it adds value by specializing in .Net, having the benefit of almost 6 years of hindsight, and providing constant web references and practical tools (many which didn't exist when Fowler wrote his book). Overall, it's a good read for any .Net Architect or aspiring developer. It's an especially good read for those who grew up as architects in a single company, and therefore may only have exposure to one way of doing architecture.

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