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Building Microservices: Designing Fine-Grained Systems Paperback – 30 September 2021
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What's new in the second edition
The second edition is a complete rewrite of the previous edition. It is aimed at giving a broad overview of all aspects related to microservices. Giving a firm foundation in the basics, it goes further, covering off all aspects of the software delivery process, and how they are impacted by adopting a microservice architecture.
This updated edition involves every page of the 1st edition being reviewed and where appropriate reworked, with new topics covered for the first time. This edition will be reflecting the shifts in the use of microservices over the last five years, including an exploration of some of the new technology which has emerged.
Who should read this book
The scope of this book is broad, as the implications of microservice architectures are also broad. As such, it should appeal to people interested in aspects of design, development, deployment, testing, and maintenance of systems.
Those of you who have already embarked on the journey toward finer-grained architectures, whether for a greenfield application or as part of decomposing an existing, more monolithic system, will find plenty of practical advice to help you. It will also help those of you who want to know what all the fuss is about, so that you can determine whether microservices are right for you.
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I thought the book would be a great tutorial on building Microservices and take me on a journey of designing and building actual Microservices through examples and explanations.
The book unfortunately for me reads like a doctor's thesis on Microservices without giving any clear instructions for a beginner on how to go about getting started. It was of no use to me.
My feedback :-
Building Microservices is probably not the best title for this book, since so many O'Reilly books have been working tutorials. I feel this one set the wrong expectations. It probably should have been called Design Principles for Microservices Architects.
In other words if you are already building Microservices, this book would give you more insight and advice on what you're already doing.
What I needed was a step by step primer on building Microservices as a novice with some practical examples that by the end of the book I'd have a working application or service example built using Microservices.
Ultimately this book wasn't for me and I returned it.
I hope this helps anyone else and is a fair review.
1) It covers an incredibly broad range, but it sacrifices depth to get there. It has to move so fast that almost no single sub-topic is covered in enough detail.
2) It's almost entirely high level throughout (strategic advice, theoretical tradeoffs, patterns, anecdotal stories/examples, etc.). While Newman's vast experience and knowledge are quite evident (and appreciated), I wish he'd cut down some of the long winding "war stories" and long hypothetical trade-off scenarios, and included ANY actual implementation examples (via code, screenshots, etc.). There are none.
At a hefty 562 pages(!) he had room to edit his pithy prose and put more meat on the bones, and I really wish he had. By page ~300 in it just starts to get tiresome living only in the author's richly-told storyland without having any hard tactical implementation advice or guidance to sink one's teeth into (in other words, it's great that you told me what to do - now please demonstrate how (and how not) to do it).
3) He should have written a full long chapter on Kubernetes. Newman has updated the 2nd edition to account for its massive impact on the industry, but although he mentions it many times throughout the book, he only spends 10 pages actually explaining what Kubernetes is - and that effort is, frankly, woefully lacking. K8s is so central to the microservices world now that it really merits a full deep dive. I grant that it's a huge topic that merits many books in its own right - but he should have at least shared a far more digestible and effective overview of k8s, and specifically how to implement and deploy a microservice to it, than he did. If I didn't already know a lot about kubernetes, this book's brief overview would have left me nothing but confused, to be brutally honest.
SO ... My final word is that this is a great overview of microservices - but it's a better resource if you know very little now and are looking for a broad background as a starting point, than if you're already building microservices and/or have read a bunch of other books on the topic. You will still _need_ to look elsewhere to learn about actually implementing microservices on your platform(s) of choice, that's for sure.
That said, Newman's writing is easy to understand (and even entertaining, at the cost of pages turned), and the stories, strategies, patterns and advice he does share are all valuable and worth reading, cover to cover. He just needs to improve the signal/noise ratio for his next edition of this epic tome, if you ask me. ;-)
I'll remark that it's just an overview, although comprehensive: each chapter could be expanded in at least one book. Do not expect to go deep into integration patterns, or deployment solutions, or theory of distributed systems. The chapter on user interfaces is especially shallow, leaving you pretty much on your own.
I'll also remark that it's a informal overview: the book doesn't propose any recipe or pattern, just insights, impressions, experiences. Something that I was surprised to find completely missing is any reference to the actor model, but again, it's an overview of the current state, and has no academic ambition, nor tries to propose new solutions.
If you're into enterprise software development, and you've read some books on design, distributed systems, architecture, and add on that some of your own experience, then you'll probably skim through many sections, or you might even find it boring.
I don't know, maybe I had too high expectations. Maybe I'm just disappointed to realize that most of us will never work on such systems - despite the many job offerings you find around. Oh, by the way, this book seemed to me safe from marketing BS, it won't sell you anything. Very honest. And I still don't know why they're called "micro".
Sam’s breakdown of the microservices architecture model is incredibly insightful and well written. He discusses the trade offs openly and honestly, and does a great job of comparing different models and techniques.
Highly recommend to anyone working in a microservices architecture, or anyone who is considering it as a choice for their organisation.