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Are You a WebLogic Expert?

Are You a WebLogic Expert?

In my travels I am often asked whether I am a WebLogic expert. I don't blame people for asking, since it is assumed that anyone who is editor-in-chief of a magazine dedicated to keeping its readers up to date on the myriad of BEA products must know everything there is to know about this end of the software spectrum. You might assume that by now I would be used to the question, "Are you a WebLogic expert, you know, a guru?" Every time though, it stops me in my tracks and I have to stop for a second and compose myself. Am I an expert? Umm, err...say something, quick. I usually respond with, "Well, I think I know enough to get by, how can I help you?" In most cases, I am able to provide some wisdom or at least guide the individual towards an answer to the particular problem or architectural design conundrum in which he or she embroiled.

The question is so difficult to respond to because the term "WebLogic" covers a lot of ground. I am often left puzzled for a day or two, asking myself, should I be a WebLogic expert? If I were an expert, what would I know beyond what I already know?

This time around, the subject at hand centered on deployment planning and the best approach for selecting the types of servers to use, arrangement of BEA WebLogic domains, memory and CPU requirements, and so forth. So, on went my WebLogic administrator's hat along with years of experience dealing with Unix, Linux, symmetric multiprocessing, and Java Virtual Machine technology, to name a few. In addition, the architectural discussion also involved application scaling, concurrent and peak usage patterns, and so forth. Between the two of us we were able to work through an optimal solution.

But, there is an endless supply of questions that can be asked, spanning years of technology and experience levels, making it difficult for any one person to know it all. For instance, to be a WebLogic expert you need to have expertise in Java technology, a full understanding of the functional capabilities and specifications of J2EE, and of course, knowledge of how to design systems using WebLogic Workshop, WebLogic Integrator, Liquid Data, and so on. You also need to be fluent in XML, XSL, XQuery, and similar data-related technologies. You also need to be fully aware of how to deploy Web applications and components, including servlets and EJBs, and have a good understanding of deployment descriptors. You also need to know your way around database drivers, connection pools, and other performance-improving mechanisms.

In the portal technology area, you need to understand how to develop and deploy portlets to WebLogic Portal, and have a solid background on all of the relevant standards that are out there. You also cannot escape reaching the expert status without having full knowledge of SOAP, WSDL, BPEL4WS, and all of the other emerging standards required for an SOA based enterprise. Shall I continue?

Assimilating all of this requires years of practical experience, after which maybe, just maybe, you may reach the guru status. In reality, the experts in the field are few and far between. More often, we rely on networking and our fellow associates to help us work through architectural and design issues, and we also rely on the knowledge and expertise of the "experts" who publish articles for this magazine. And that, of course, is why we are here at WLDJ - to help you sort through what you need to know as a WebLogic developer.

Have a great and prosperous New Year!

More Stories By Joe Mitchko

Joe Mitchko is the editor-in-chief of WLDJ and a senior technical specialist for a leading consulting services company.

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