Enterprise Application Integration is big business these days. Many companies are finding that their businesses demand more "joined up thinking" and a more agile approach to changing business environment. Previously unconnected systems have to be connected and new interfaces developed. Completely new applications, for example selling and claiming on insurance policies over the Internet, are being demanded of legacy mainframe, batch-mode IT systems. Software vendors are keen to market solutions to these integration problems. EAI tools that are able to interconnect many types of applications and systems, that can integrate web services and form part of a service oriented architecture are fast becoming the centre of an integrated business.
Enterprise Integration Patterns is an attempt to formally describe EAI functionality, concentrating almost wholly, and unapologetically, on messaging as the basis for integration.
The book appears on the surface to be jumping on a "pattern bandwagon". There are many books that claim patterns can be used in a wide variety of different fields of endeavour, and in my experience, few really deliver. However, Enterprise Integration Patterns makes good use of the pattern paradigm to describe how messaging can be used as the basis of an integration platform.
Some of the 60 or so patterns described in the book are fairly simple. For example, the publish/subscribe channel will be familiar with anyone that has used an EAI or messaging middleware. Here though, the patterns are used to give common names and notations for features that have different nomenclature in products from different software vendors. A cross-reference of the patterns to commercial product features is sadly absent. The pattern catalogue is available online at
Anyone faced with the task of integrating applications in their business using a messaging model or EAI tool will benefit from this book. It succinctly describes many EAI features as patterns, pointing out how and where these features can be used. There are also some worked examples implemented with several technologies such as JMS and Web Services, and mainstream EAI products from vendors including TIBCO and Microsoft. Having said this, the book does aim to stay vendor neutral, and in this is largely successful. If you aredoing EAI, recommended.