Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Event Processing In Action

Event Processing In Action - this is a title of the book on which I have started to work recently together with my colleague Peter Niblett - although I am typically writing my Blogs always as I and not as We, this time I'll use We in any case that what I am writing refers to Peter as well. In the next few days the first chapter of the book will be made public by the publisher as a green paper. In the picture above you can see a provisional cover of this book, but this is not final yet. The book is planned to be available towards the end of 2009.

The Web 2.0 plays a role in this process, as explained below. Here are some Q&A about it,

What is the motivation for a new book ?

The book has been initiated by Manning Publications, a computing books publisher; their market survey indicated that there is a significant market need for a new book that will articulate and provide a deep dive into the concepts and facilities of event system applications. This book is intended to be the major reference book for enterprise architects, application developers (both technical and semi-technical), and is also expected to be used for instructional purposes (a textbook for a university level course on event processing).

The book written by David Luckham entitled "The power of events" (Addison-Wesley, 2002) has been very influential in setting the initial awareness to the event processing area, and it still is a big inspiration for us; the new book is intended to reflect the contemporary thinking around event processing which has been evolved since 2002.

Why have we agreed to write this book ?

Writing a book is a big responsibility, it is a substantial burden on our time. Furthermore it is a tremendous challenge to produce a high quality book in an emerging area for these target audiences - especially considering the very high expectations that have already been generated around this book. We believe that this book is indeed required, and as technical leaders in the community it is our duty to take this task and help shape the newly emerging discipline of event processing this way. We were also encouraged by our management and colleagues to take this mission.

What is the approach taken in this book ?

The approach taken in the book will not be surprising to the readers of this Blog. Indeed, the book can be considered as a direct descendant of the Blog, it seems that the publisher has approached me based on recommendations of anonymous members of the event processing community that referred him to look at this Blog. I got feedback from others that this Blog is one of the popular sources today to learn what event processing is, but the Blog, as a Blog, is not written in methodical way, it jumps from one topic to another, it treats the various topics in a relatively superficial way, and includes "noise" like this posting; the book should be more focused, getting things in the right order, and in the proper level of depth. The style of writing is similar to that of the Blog.

The book will explain all the event processing concepts by showing step-by-step how a single use case has been constructed. The explanation, like my approach in the Blog, is aimed to be language-style neutral and explain the concepts using a patterns oriented model (although, due to the ambiguity of the term patterns in event processing we use the term building blocks). We are planning to have an appendix in which we will list existing EP products and open source offerings, and provide some high-level details, without providing evaluation or endorsement to any of them. We'll ask for collaboration of the various product owners to get accurate information about their products.

What is the relationship between this book and IBM ?

Both Peter and myself are IBM employees; Peter works in the IBM Hursley Lab in England, where I am working in the IBM Haifa Research Lab in Israel. However we are writing this book (after clearing the legal and managerial permission) as individuals and not as IBM employees; A disclaimer stating that the book represent our opinions and not necessarily the opinion of IBM will be clearly made in the preface to the book, as is done in the top of this Blog. There is a big EP oriented community inside IBM and we hope to get feedback from this community, as part of the feedback from the larger community.

How are Web 2.0 technologies going to impact the authoring process?

As any other book, there is a formal review process, in which the publisher consults with a collection of reviewers representing people from the target audiences, thus most reviewers are architects and developments from various industries, and academic instructors teaching EP courses. In addition, nowadays, book authoring is also considered as an interactive process between the authors and the readers. The MEAP program (Manning Early Access Program) enables readers to interact with the authors through a forum, and contribute comments and questions on the book while being written; when the book will get into the MEAP program I'll further explain it

What are the next steps?

As I have said, Peter and myself are facing with a substantial challenge to create a high-quality book for the readers, and are sure that feedback and reviews from the larger community can help us provide a better book for the target audience; The green paper is due to appear hopefully by the end of this week; I'll post the URL on this Blog as soon as it is available, the MEAP for this book will be set up in the next few weeks. I'll also use this Blog to tell about some dilemmas and challenges in the writing process (another Web 2.0 means of communication).

More -- Later.


PatternStorm said...

Hi Opher,

Congratulations! Writing a technical book is not a small endeavor, more if the book addresses a topic such as Event Processing which due to its fundamental nature to computation and its emerging status is seen and understood differently from different areas of IT and has such a precedent as The Power of Events that leaves the expectations very high. I whish you and Peter all the best in this endeavor and I am glad that the community will be able to influence the contents of the book. Not to put pressure on you but I am sure you know you have a great responsibility ;-) Looking forward to contribute.



Opher Etzion said...

Hello Claudi.

Thanks for your comments, Looking forward to your feedback; I know that answering your comments will be a real challenge.



Anonymous said...

Hi Opher
Sincere congratulations.
We appreciate all the men and women devoting their time and effort to advance the cause of CEP.
Sending negative messages from golf courses and night clubs around the Mae Ping River is just not the course.
Just can not wait to see the final product.

Opher Etzion said...

Hi Elhabib. Thanks for your message,
a lot of hard work is still required towards the final product. Then we'll have to translate it to Japanese...

About Chiang Mai -- it is indeed one of the nicest place I have ever been; about the messages coming from its "golf courses and night clubs" -- well, every reader can make an intelligent judgement here without my advice.



Tim Bass said...


The good part about life on a lazy river, playing golf, swimming three KM some days, playing tennis (and sometimes badminton) and enjoying great food is that there is no stress, no need to kiss the ring of venture capitalists, and no need to condone and participate in gimmick marketing.

I don't live in a stressful world of gimmicks, hyper-sensationalism, and a business requirement to do, say, or publish anything to sell. I also don't have any need to position software of my service to sell them.

At least I am objective and honest, with both myself and the world. And, more over, I do know what is "complexity" in both science and engineering, how it applies to event processing, and where is does not.

I also know when folks are reinventing the wheel and creating terms and ideas to satisfy their own needs and desires versus moving forward the art-and-science of actually processing complex events.

Cheers and best regards,