Book Review: jBPM Developer Guide

A few months ago, PACKT Publishing released a new book on jBPM called “jBPM Developer Guide” by Mauricio Salatino.

The book is meant for java developers, but takes the developer by the hand in the first couple of chapters to walk them through some of the required concepts and the tools that will be used in the book. I tend to like that approach since the book does not claim to be an “advanced” development book, and makes sure that the required background in the form of a tutorial is included in the book. Some more experienced developers may end up skipping the first few chapters.

Although jBPM can support many languages (jPDL, BPEL, Pageflow), the book focuses on jPDL to keep the scope of the book under control. Once again, this is a good thing to keep discussions focused on the framework, and not on the language being used with it.

After the introductory chapters, the book gets into more interesting details about jPDL, Persistence, Human Tasks, etc. The topics are covered in details, examples are provided and it does a decent job of making sure that developers have all the basic tools they need to work with jBPM.

The last chapter, chapter 12 titled “Going Enterprise” touches lightly on some of the topics required for going to a Java EE environment. It is interesting and could go in more details but ends abruptly, with a conclusion that is not worthy to be called the conclusion to a book.

The book was written with jBPM 3.2.6 in mind although jBPM 4.0 was actually released in July 2009 and jBPM 4.3 was released basically at the same time as the book was released. This may look like the author did not use the latest and greatest version of jPBM, but actually, considering the fact that jBPM 4 was a full re-write some of the features were missing from version 3.2.6 it makes sense.

Version 3.2.6 is also the latest version that was officially supported by a company, which means that if you want to use version 4 in a production environment, you are on your own with the community. For some, that may make a big difference.

Now that jPBM 5 has been announced (leaving jBPM 4 where?I am not sure),   I look forward to seeing an updated version of that book in a little while when jBPM 5 has matured into something more concrete.

All in all, a decent book for developers getting started with jBPM, as long as they are using version 3 and not version 4 of the framework.