Friday, January 20, 2006

Tutorials good, understanding better

I'm working with web-services and with J2EE at present, two technologies that have a bewildering collection of components and configuration options (and configuration descriptors) by themselves. The Cartesian product of this complexity is, well, you can imagine. All is not lost though: various good souls have put together on-line tutorials (example) that show you, step-by-step, how to deploy a particular flavour of web service (say doc/lit) on a particular flavour of J2EE container (say, JBoss). Well and good, and a collective "thank-you" to all of those people. The problem I find, however, is that the tutorial gets a result (you can deploy the sample order-processing service and invoke it), but they don't help you understand the underlying technology. "Do this in webservices.xml" is all very well if you want to do the same thing in your actual code, but if you need something a bit different there's not enough depth in a walk-this-way tutorial. Actually, a reference to the specs would probably suffice in most cases. So, case in point (should I ever need it again!), webservices.xml is actually defined in JSR-000109.

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