Sun Certified Enterprise Architect for Java EE Study Guide (Exam 310-051)

Paul Allen, Joseph Bambara (Author) (2007)
Review date: February, 2011

Like many other study guides this book attempts to cover all exam objectives for the Enterprise Architect exam 310-051. Its chapters end with review questions, and its companion CD ROM contains the book as a series of PDFs and an exam simulator. Standard stuff.

Chapter one is a vanilla intro. Chapter two covers basic terminology related to architecture, such as reference architecture, tier, surface area, etc, quality attributes, and starts making a transition towards JEE and its fundamental technologies. Chapter three is short and gives the smallest acceptable introduction to UML.

Chapter four covers a lot of ground, as it's called "Applicability of JEE Technology". Chapter five is about design patterns, mostly GoF patterns. Core J2EE patterns are discussed only briefly. Legacy connectivity, pretty much JCA, is discussed in the following chapter.

Chapter seven, "Enterprise JavaBeans and the EJB container Model", is similar in spirit to chapter four. Things get a little more detailed here though, as this chapter contains source code. Chapter eight, nine, ten: messaging, internationalization and localization, and security. Further explanation unnecassary.

The last, eleventh chapter provides a case study of a system that's supposed to be similar to the practical assignment part of the exam.


Exam preparation books are always special. You tend to review how well they prepare the reader for the exam, not how good they are as literature. In contrast to the prep guide for the SCBCD exam, this book is really reading-friendly. Some chapters are not very exciting due to the topics they cover (how exciting can i18n get?), but as a whole it's very readable. Most of the time, the authors are very efficient about the material served. They cover a topic in sufficient detail for the exam, but not deeper. The chapter on patterns is a very good example of this.

The review questions at the end of the chapters are ok too.

Now, I've read this book while preparing for an exam called 310-052, which is the successor to 310-051, which this book covers. The difference between these exams is quite big! I don't know what's in the older one, but the new one is about Java EE5, which means EJB3, JPA, Web services, and JSF. None of these topics is covered. That's ok, however, in retrospect I can also tell that the book is too weak on the core J2EE patterns, which occur in the new exam.

In summation, I'd say that the strengths of this book lie in its chapters on general theory, like architecture, legacy connectivity, security and GoF patterns. It's weaknesses lie in the specific technologies. It's outdated and incomplete. On the other hand, it should be quite difficult to write a complete study guide for an exam as big as SCEA. So yes, the book serves its purpose well and helps you structure your knowledge and preparation, but those who want to write the exam should get books on EJB3 and JPA, JSF and read the specs for the various XML-related technologies.

Who should read this book

This book partially prepares you for the Java Enterprise Architect Exam (310-052).


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