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Head First Servlets & JSP
by Kathy Sierra, Bert Bates, Bryan Basham, Kathy Sierra, Bert Bates, Bryan Basham


O'Reilly
second edition
March 2008
911 pages

Reviewed by Ulf Dittmer, May 2008
  (8 of 10)


The second edition of this classic book about the Java Servlet and JSP API continues the tradition of other Head First titles that liven up the text with pictures, hand-scribbled notes, questions&answers and other devices to engage the reader's brain. Never having read a Head First book before, this reviewer was pleasantly surprised by how well this works. Even though the book is much thicker than I consider healthy for a tech book (over 800 pages), it's an easy read thanks to the lively prose and varied content elements.

The book is billed as a preparation aid for the SCWCD exam, but it also serves as a general introduction to Servlets and JSP. I found it easy to read individual chapters (e.g. on the Expression Language, servlet filters or custom tags) by themselves to refresh knowledge on particular topics. It's made clear which exam objectives are covered in each chapter, and there are exam-style questions and answers that go with the text, plus a brand-new mock exam with as many questions as the actual exam has.

I recommend this book as a tutorial -- not as a reference -- to anyone needing to come up to speed with servlets/JSP, or in need of learning aspects of it he hasn't used before. (Disclaimer: The author of this review was one of the tech reviewers of the book.)

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O'Reilly
1 edition
July 2004
886 pages

Reviewed by Marc Peabody, February 2006
  (10 of 10)


Over at the JavaRanch Saloon's Web Component Certification (SCWCD) forum, Head First Servlets & JSP dominates as the book of choice. It appeals to both those with and those without Java EE experience and I'm constantly amazed at how quickly everyone learns using this book. The SCWCD testimonies that say "I passed!" are most often appended with "Thank you, Head First, for such a wonderful book!"

A couple points about what to expect:
* This is no crammer's book. You will get more than book smarts -- you will understand the significance of the questions and objectives to real world Java enterprise programming.
* Nor is this book a flowery tutorial. This is hardcore programming wisdom. It would take you at least two years of real-world, painful, trial-and-error experience to gain the equivalent knowledge on your own. That's just stupid.

I passed the SCWCD exam years ago (before Head First Servlets & JSP existed) but now I am going to upgrade my certification to the latest version. I have never been so confident for an exam before. I am soooo ready!

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OCA Java SE 7 Programmer I Certification Guide: Prepare for the 1ZO-803 exam
by Mala Gupta


Manning Publications
edition
January 2013
375 pages

Reviewed by Jeanne Boyarsky, January 2013
  (8 of 10)



"OCA Java SE 7 Programmer I Certification Guide" is Manning's book for developers looking to get the new entry level Java certification.

I wouldn't use this book to learn Java; I'd use it as a second Java book to get ready for this exam. (Nothing wrong with this - the book doesn't claim to teach you Java. I only mention this so you have proper expectations. I actually like when a book separates objectives between teaching from scratch or exam prep.)

The book comes with mock questions after each chapter and one full mock exam. There are also "twist in the tale" exercises sprinkled throughout the book which get you to realize how small changes to the code can change the behavior of the code.

The explanations are clear. Analogies prevent you from getting bored. There are great diagrams throughout the book.

Overall, I think the best test of a cert book is whether it prepares you for the test - this book does.

Disclosure: I will be receiving a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for being the technical proofreader for the book.

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Java SE 7 Programming Essentials
by Michael Ernest


Sybex
1 edition
November 2012
336 pages

Reviewed by Jeanne Boyarsky, November 2012
  (9 of 10)



"Java SE 7 Programming Essentials" stands apart from the other OCAJP certification books because it isn't a certification book. It is an intro to Java book that prepares you for the cert. The distinction is important. Most other cert books I've read assume you have some knowledge already. This book is more of a competitor of "Thinking in Java" and Deitel & Deitel. However if you read the book, do the exercises and answer the questions in each chapter, you will be well prepared for the cert so it is a cert book in that space.

It was cool seeing a mention of JavaRanch in the intro - a note not to private message the author there. Anyway, this is a book review so I should talk about the book.

Each page is in color which makes syntax highlighting a great feature of the book. There were lots of good diagrams such as the flow of control structures and sequence diagrams.

The book also includes best practices and opinions which are good for jumping in. For example, Michael explains doubles aren't good choices for real world objects. Which is a very important point. (I work for a bank.) However, he then implies you should adapt a primitive type for money rather than using BigDecimal. While I agree that is probably out of scope for an intro book, it still jumped out at me.

Overall, I find the book very easy to read and think it is a great book as your first Java book. I really like the remarks about making things easier for your future self through clear coding and documentation.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review. Further, the author asked me about tech proofing this title. While that didn't happen, I feel the need to point out the missing line break in the table on page 47 and the word "sublclassing" on page 122 :). Seriously though, many books have a couple typos. If this is the worst I can find, it means the quality is good.

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Sybex
1 edition
November 2012
336 pages

Reviewed by Bear Bibeault, January 2013
  (9 of 10)



As someone who has been writing in Java for a decade and a half, I find Michael Ernest's Java SE 7 Programming Essentials an excellent introduction and resource for not only Java, but for any aspiring programmer.

But before discussing the content of the book, let me say a few words about the binding of the book itself: it's wonderful. The pages are thicker than average for a softbound book, sport a pleasing eggshell finish, and the entire book is in full color. All technical books should be bound so handsomely. As an author myself, I'm rather jealous.

Those of you ordering the e-book will miss out on this; but not to worry, the content of the book matches its physical polish.

I've often likened computer programming to chess. Anyone can learn the moves, but sitting in front of a chess board and making random moves could hardly be considered "playing chess". Without a strategy to those moves, there's no game. But when it comes to books on programming, whether it be Java or any other computer language, all too often books emphasize the "moves" without touching upon the strategies that elevate computer code from a random mess of statements to an elegant and cohesive program.

In Java SE 7 Programming Essentials, Michael Ernest not only describes the "moves" of Java -- and in a very logical order for someone not familiar with Java or even programming -- but emphasizes thinking from the offset about the strategies that make software successful. That's rather unusual for a book targeted at the more novice audiences, and an approach that is handled well. It'd be easy to confuse the reader, obscuring the point of the concept being presented with such an approach, but the author deftly manages to avoid clouding the point while presenting "strategy" along with the "moves".

This book also avoids another trap I've seen in books that prepare one for a certification. Frequently such books "teach to the test"; preparing the reader to take the certification exam, but only that. In such books, important concepts are glossed over, or even omitted, if they aren't germaine to the test. Java SE 7 Programming Essentials avoids this pitfall. It's a good first book on Java regardless of whether one is interested in the OCAJP certification or not.

If you are interested in learning how to program Java, rather than merely write Java, this is a book I can recommend.

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Sun Certified Enterprise Architect for Java EE Study Guide (2nd Edition)
by Mark Cade, Humphrey Sheil


Prentice Hall
second edition
February 2010
216 pages

Reviewed by Jeanne Boyarsky, September 2010
  (9 of 10)


I read the Cade & Sheil study guide in preparation for the SCEA 5 exam. The book is short; only 189 pages; but contains a lot of info. What struck me was how little of the content was obscure. It serves as a good plan for studying/reviewing. I used it for reviewing since the content wasn't new. Most of the book covers the part 1 objectives along with sample multiple choice questions. The rest is for parts 2 and 3. I liked the notes about what differs in practice and the answer explanations about the exam creators think.

I didn't like the sample questions format. It was way too easy to see the correct answer while looking at the question making it difficult to see where you stand. It would have been nice to have them on a different page or in an appendix. Also, one of the answers was wrong. This is obvious from reading the answer explanation of course. I also felt the "background reading" sections were too thorough. It says the successful candidate must read the EJB spec. This is malarkey. The successful candidate must have a high level view of EJB rather than know every detail of the spec.

When I read the book, I thought the questions were too easy. After taking the exam, I can say they were spot on in difficulty. Overall, I do recommend the book. It served its purpose well "to be a concise guide to getting ready for the exam".

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OCP Java SE 6 Programmer Practice Exams (Exam 310-065) (Certification Press)
by Bert Bates, Katherine Sierra


McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
1 edition
January 2008
448 pages

Reviewed by Jeanne Boyarsky, December 2010
  (9 of 10)


Disclosure: I was one of the tech reviewers of this book so I'm probably biased. I'm reviewing it anyway and saying *why* I liked things.

1) Lots of questions
2) Clear explanations
3) Advice on how to study
4) Similar looking problems that test different things so your brain doesn't memorize "the answer is 'a' as fast"
5) Harder questions than are on the test and a mapping to to how it would relate to an actual score.

Note this is not like the thick SCJP book that is a study guide to the exam. This book is virtually all practice exams.

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Sun Certified Web Component Developer Study Companion
by Charles Lyons


Garner Press
1 edition
July 2006
640 pages

Reviewed by Marc Peabody, August 2006
  (9 of 10)


The more experience you have, the more you'll appreciate the layout of this book, as the information is very structured with little foofoo noise. The design is especially helpful for learning class APIs, the web.xml, and standard actions. SCWCD Study Companion is certainly the best book on the market for those last few times you need to skim through everything the day leading up to the exam.

Each chapter ends with some superb questions, about 15 or so. Each question has a definite purpose to your learning process. The questions truly help enforce what important points you should remember from the chapter and what silly (though important) tricks to look out for in the exam. You can tell that the author put a copious amount of time into writing thoughtful questions.

My only complaint with the book is that, in my opinion, it's weak on Design Patterns. I've always felt that the online pattern catalogues were the best study resource for these anyway, so it's not a huge deal.

Charles Lyons' SCWCD Study Companion comes with a companion of its own: an online mock exam (also available for purchase separately). The mock exam has lots of tricky questions, so be sure you're ready first. It will certainly make you more aware of what to look out for in the real exam. In fact, it feels just like a real Sun exam except without the nasty drag and drop my-answers-disappeared bug (thank goodness!).

Upon completion, you can review the answers with explanations at your leisure, even days later. And get this - the bloke actually wrote the mock and its underlying engine himself, so his hands are very well in it and any errata will be fixed promptly. Few exams are so living as this.

The question most people will be asking is how this book compares to Head First Servlets & JSP (HFSJ). It's smaller and easier to carry. I find, though there are fewer pictures and jokes, I can make it through more topics before my brain starts to hurt. I think this is because the material is so well organized that my brain doesn't have to defrag it all afterward. HFSJ may be more fun to read, but those that want just the down and dirty might better appreciate Study Companion. The Study Companion makes a better reference book, a better book for subsequent reads, and is much easier to transport between work and home.

If you can afford two books, definitely get both the Study Companion and HFSJ. If you can only afford one, choose the one that best fits your style of learning.

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Java 2 Developer Exam Cram 2 (Exam CX-310-252A and CX-310-027)
by Alain Trottier


Que
unknown edition
August 2003
480 pages

Reviewed by Andrew Monkhouse, October 2003
  (6 of 10)


This is potentially a good book for SCJD candidates, however it fails in a number of key areas.

The major problem is that this book was published in September 2003, however it is written for an assignment that Sun have not issued to candidates since April 2003. This means that the book does not touch on two important aspects of the newer assignments (raw file I/O and executable jar files), plus some of the suggestions in the book are explicitly disallowed in the newer assignments.

There are also a number of problems with the sample code provided in the book. In particular the locking code is faulty (worth 20% in the assignment), the server code does not match the requirements of the locking code, and the example of thread safe code isn't thread safe. Also, although sockets were described in detail as being one of two ways of meeting the assignment requirements, object serialization over sockets (required if you use sockets in the assignment) was not described. Hopefully these will be fixed in the errata, however at the time of review there was no errata page, and the author was unaware of these issues when I raised them with him.

On the positive side, the author provides information on areas where candidates often go beyond the specifications, although making it clear that such work is unnecessary. Also the author provides a good introduction to the ancillary work developers must do - the application analysis and design.

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A Programmer's Guide to Java Certification
by Khalid Azim Mughal, Rolf Rasmussen, Khalid Azim Mughal, Rolf Rasmussen


Addison-Wesley Professional
second edition
August 2003
672 pages

Reviewed by Thomas Paul, October 2004
  (9 of 10)


If you are studying to become a Sun Certified Programmer for the Java 2 Platform 1.4 this book will help you to receive not just a passing grade but an excellent understanding of the intricacies of the Java programming language. Mughal and Rasmussen aren't satisfied with simply giving you a minimal understanding of Java so that you can pass a test. They are interested in helping you to understand the language at a deeper level. After all, it is much easier to pass the certification exam when you actually understand the material rather than when you have simply memorized a lot of details.

I'll give you an example of the level of detail that the book covers. Section 5.2 of the book covers Selection statements. The section starts with a description of the if statement followed by an activity diagram which explains the flow of the statement. The authors then show a simple example followed by a clear explanation of the if statement. Then they do the same with if-else, this time using several examples. The same level of detail follows for the switch statement, again providing clear text, with a simple activity diagram, followed by several well explained examples. Finally, the section ends with several review questions. What this means is that this book can serve you well even after you have passed the certification exam. You will be hard pressed to find a better written reference.

The book covers all the information you need to pass the certification exam and covers the material needed to connect all the pieces together. The included CD has several mock exams with questions that will help you understand the type of questions that you will face on the actual exam. If you do well on the mock exams you will do well on the real thing. Overall, this is an excellent book for studying for the Java certification. But it is such a good reference that you will want to keep it nearby even after you have passed the certification.

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Addison-Wesley Professional
second edition
August 2003
672 pages

Reviewed by Andrew Monkhouse, September 2003
  (9 of 10)


This is an excellent book for experienced programmers who wish to learn how to program in Java and, in so doing, study for the SCJP exam.

Since this book is targeted at the experienced programmer, it does not attempt to spoon feed the reader. Whatever topics are under discussion are explained quickly and concisely, then sample code is supplied to demonstrate the topics. It seems assumed that the experienced programmer will be able to correlate the sample code back to the discussion, as the code is not pulled apart line by line.

The book uses ample UML diagrams to describe class hierarchies, state transitions, and event sequences, however they are not relied upon within the text, so someone not familiar with UML will not be disadvantaged.

Someone who wishes to learn Java beyond the bare minimum required to pass the SCJP will benefit from the author's additional information provided. For every topic in the SCJP, the authors have picked topics that are related and are likely to be useful to a Java programmer.

A word of warning to potential purchasers though: this book will not spoon feed you, you will not get hints about the exam questions, and you will have to be prepared to experiment with the supplied code and textual descriptions of code. The author's do cover all the exam objectives, but they do not focus on getting you passed: they focus on teaching you how to program with Java.

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Addison-Wesley Professional
1 edition
August 1999
688 pages

Reviewed by Tony Alicea, October 2000
  (10 of 10)


I have to say that I liked the book very much. It is not for beginners that don't know programming already, but instead it is for those (especially C) programmers that prefer that the new programming language be presented in a more formal manner.
The book's style is academic and I would see it being used in a four-year University college in a Java class for students of Computer Science. The review questions, which are dispersed over the chapters, are really good, and the answers are very well explained in an appendix.
This is a book that goes way beyond of what is strictly necessary to pass the Sun Certified Programmer for the Java 2 Platform examination, which is something I like. (I don't believe in 'bare minimums'.)
The few times that I had to e-mail the authors, their reply came promptly and to the point, including code examples. This is not what you usually get with other books. Some books don't even have an errata web page. This one, of course, does, with credits to all who helped them.

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Sun Certified Enterprise Architect for J2EE Study Guide (Exam 310-051)
by Paul Allen, Joseph J. Bambara


McGraw-Hill
1 edition
March 2003
648 pages

Reviewed by Ajith Kallambella, May 2003
  (8 of 10)


More is better and that's where this book comes out as a winner!

Chapters cover all objectives and are neatly organized. Every chapter concludes with a small test and a "Two minute drill" that is great for last minute reviews (and index cards!). "Exam watch" sections are interspersed throughout the book to draw your focus on test specific issues and "Scenario-Solution" sections present potential design/architectural issues with solutions in a quick to read format. Many chapters include exercises for problem solving and essay-type answering required for the final part of certification. A sample case study of a securities trading system helps the readers to prepare for part II assignment.

Here's where the "more" factor comes in - the accompanying CD contains a large collection (250+) of questions in the form of two simulated tests. One can register free on their website to download an additional test. The testing software not only includes detailed answers for every question, but will also generate a score report to help you identify your weak areas. The CD also contains code samples referenced in the book and all chapters in electronic (pdf) format. That's very helpful for someone on the run!

This book is much more than a certification guide. It can very well be used as a complete J2EE quick reference guide. Some of the extras packed in the book include XML coverage in Common architectures/protocols section, a great OOAD/UML refresher, lots of J2EE best practices and tips, introductory coverage of JCA and working code for many design patterns. The "On the Job" sections present the reader with some interesting real-life architectural scenarios.

Some code samples are two to three pages long, and one of them has a three-page output listing!! Perhaps that's the only not-cool thing about the book.

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Java 2 Programmer Exam Cram 2 (Exam CX-310-035)
by William Brogden and Marcus Green


Que
unknown edition
March 2003
416 pages

Reviewed by Jason Menard, March 2003
  (8 of 10)


Not everyone seeking certification is new to Java and object oriented programming. For more experienced developers, it can often be tedious to wade through a certification guide suitable for the Java beginner. It is this audience that is particularly well served by Brogden and Green's book.

This book is concise. There is little effort wasted in going into more detail than necessary in the explanation of concepts the reader should already be familiar with. What you get is the information needed to pass the exam, and little else.

Among the highlights are test taking tips, handy alerts which stress material likely to be covered by exam questions, where to go to find additional resources, and a tear-out "Cram Sheet" presenting a condensed collection of relevant facts. The book comes with a CD containing practice tests and an electronic version of the text.

Each chapter concludes with a set of sample questions testing the material taught in that chapter. Two comprehensive example tests round out the book. This brings up my only real complaint, which is that the end-of-chapter questions have the answer immediately following each question, instead of in a separate section away from the questions.

If you are an experienced OO or Java developer planning to take the exam, or if you are seeking a companion for another exam guide, this is the book for you. The included electronic version of the book is very much appreciated and something more publishers should take note of.

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Sun Certified Programmer & Developer for Java 2 Study Guide (Exam 310-035 & 310-027)
by Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates


McGraw-Hill
1 edition
December 2002
752 pages

Reviewed by Jessica Sant, December 2002
  (10 of 10)


Imagine this: you're in college, studying for the final exam -- and the teacher gives you all of her notes that spell out EXACTLY what you need to know, what you DON'T need to worry about, and even points out all the little traps she'll try to catch you in when you take the exam. Kathy Sierra, the co-developer of the 310-035 Programmer's exam, with the help of Bert Bates has done just that. The 3rd edition of Osborne's Sun Certified Programmer and Developer for Java 2 is an awesome book. Get this -- it's actually entertaining to read, very easy to understand, and the mock exams more closely resemble the real thing than any other mock out there. The "Two-minute Drills" are an excellent resource to help you review before you take the exam. The Exam Watches interspersed throughout the chapter point out all the traps you might fall in during the exam, and the On The Job blurbs give you a practical application for the knowledge you just learned. The end chunk of the book discusses what you need to know to pass the Developer s exam. It won't teach you Swing or Threads - but what the exam assessor's are looking for - the things you need to pay attention to in order to pass that exam. I fully recommend this book.

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Java 2 Web Developer Certification Study Guide with CD-ROM
by Natalie Levi, Natalie Levi, Philip Heller


Sybex
second edition
November 2002
576 pages

Reviewed by Michael Morris, June 2003
  (6 of 10)


While Sybex had a chance to redeem their credibility after the abysmal release of the Java 2 Web Developer Certification Study Guide First Edition, the Second Edition fell short. While most of the errors were corrected, some still remain. One glaring error that could cause serious trouble to a certification candidate is the assertion that Session attributes are normally thread-safe while the Servlet Specification clearly states that they are not.

The book begins with an assessment test to see what you know before you begin and to identify any weak areas you may have. The thirteen certification objectives are analyzed sequentially. Each chapter is laid out with a list of objectives to be covered, the text, a summary, a list of exam essentials and key terms and a chapter test. Interspersed in the book are Real World Scenarios giving insight into how the subject at hand is being implemented. The code examples are very easy to follow. Probably the biggest advantage to this guide is the CD that comes with it. The full text in e-book form is provided along with a great test engine with three pre-built tests and an option to generate a random test. The test environment itself is a good mockup of the actual Prometric environment with timer and option to mark a question for later review.

I would recommend this book to someone who has experience with Java web components but would advise that they use it along with the Servlet Specification.

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Sybex
1 edition
June 2002
448 pages

Reviewed by Matthew Phillips, August 2002
  (3 of 10)


This could have been a great book. The authors did an excellent job of explaining the details of Web Component development in an interesting way. Unfortunately, it appears that they did not know the topic well enough to be writing about it in the first place.

This book has not been out long and the errata page is already huge. I can overlook the many typographical errors, but the factual errors I cannot. It is even worse that the factual errors are explained with the same detail as the valid information. This leaves me with the impression that the book was not rushed, so I cannot think of any explanation for why it is so bad. A corrected second edition would be a welcome sight, but unless that comes don t use this as your only resource for the exam. You will end up retaking it.

Note: Use this link to get to the errata page. Courtesy of Sybex.

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Java 2 Enterprise Edition Web Component Developer Exam
by Alain Trottier


Que
unknown edition
November 2002
544 pages

Reviewed by Paul Stevens, January 2003
  (8 of 10)


The author laid out each chapter by stating the objectives, going into the objectives with code and descriptions of each and ending with a review section. The review section consists of a summary, questions and further reading links.

The author takes the approach that the reader has little knowledge of the subject being addressed. So there are explanations about not only the objectives but about subjects relevant to web component development.

There is also a short chapter on developing a plan. The author stresses this importance and lays out a sample plan. This is actually an important step in getting certifications that is often overlooked.

Overall this was a well written book and easy reading. It does a good job of covering the subject and is laid out very well.

The one complaint I have about the layout is that many pages have way too much white space at the edges of the pages. They have a good three inches on the outer margin. This causes some of the code examples to appear crunched and hard to read by forcing multiple lines for what should be one line of code.

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Professional SCWCD Certification
by Sam Dalton and Dan Jepp


Wrox
unknown edition
November 2002
480 pages

Reviewed by Dirk Schreckmann, May 2003
  (8 of 10)


As with many certification study books, this book is laid out to cover each exam requirement point-by-point. Readers with introductory experience developing Servlet-based web applications will find the explanations in this book easy to follow and comprehend. Each chapter is concluded with a topic summary and about 10 review questions. These are definitely good for the brain while studying. Two additional chapters on a Web Application Case Study, which helps to bring many of the exam topics together, and Servlet Filters, make this book valuable beyond exam studies. The included CD-ROM includes all of the source code in the book, Apache Tomcat and Ant installation files, and an edition of the WhizLabs exam simulator with 52 practice questions.

To pass the SCWCD exam, this very good book, and a bit of study and practice time should do the trick for any Java programmer with introductory knowledge of Servlets. To fully grasp the details and applications of some of the exam objectives, readers will have to pursue additional resources, as some of the explanations of basic concepts were not complete.

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The Sun Certified Java Developer Exam with J2SE 1.4
by Mehran Habibi, Jeremy Patterson, Terry Camerlengo


Apress
1 edition
August 2002
364 pages

Reviewed by Mark Spritzler, March 2003
  (8 of 10)


I got to read SCJD Exam book after passing the SJCD with a 151/155. So I know what is on the assignment and essay exam.

Of all the SCJD books that I have read, this book comes closest to presenting an application that resembles the actual assignment and without giving away the goodies.

You will find that you will not only learn everything you need to pass the SJCD, but you will also learn all the new features of Java SDK version 1.4. You'll learn about the New IO, Regex, Assertions, and Logging.

It will go over all the considerations that you must make for the SCJD assignment including Design decisions, Coding Standards and RMI vs Sockets. All very important parts of the SCJD.

If I could only say one thing negative, It would be that I feel a couple, very small couple of issues where handled with more complexity than was needed. But, that is just my opinion. :)

Overall I would say that this is the best book to buy if you want a book for the SCJD Assignment.

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The Complete Java 2 Certification Study Guide
by Philip Heller, Simon Roberts, Michael Ernest, Philip Heller, Simon Roberts,


Sybex
third edition
July 2002
816 pages

Reviewed by Dan Schlueter, January 2003
  (7 of 10)


I will keep this short since the book is basically identical to previous editions. I was able to pass the exam only using this book although I have a few major complaints. First, chapter nine(I/O) is not even on the exam anymore but was left in the book. The practice test has 50 questions instead of 61 the questions on the real test. To make matters worse some of the questions aren't even about valid exam objectives. My final gripe is that the questions at the end of each chapter are pathetically easy compared to the final exam in the book. This edition looks at though it were rushed out because of the new exam. That being said, the items that did not change were fairly well covered and provided a good review for an intermediate java programmer.

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Sybex
second edition
September 2000
899 pages

Reviewed by John Ternlund, June 2001
  (8 of 10)


If you are trying to increase your core Java knowledge or you are studying for your Programmer's or Developer's Java 2 certification exams, the Complete Java 2 Certification Study Guide is a book packed with useful Java2 language details. This revised second edition version comes with some added chapters covering the Developer's exam, more exam questions, and a CD-ROM which contains the entire book in digital format. The first half of the book is a thorough study guide which covers Programmer's Exam information. This part of the book digs right into the language fundamentals and presents Java syntax and semantics. The sample questions at the end of each chapter usually do a good job quizzing you on what you just read. The sections on Threads, Layout Managers, Components and I/O are well written. The second half of the book covers the Developer's Exam. Because the Developer's Exam is practical rather than objective, the second half of the book looks more at doing programming assignments. Basic examples of a room reservation system and a trouble ticket system are presented and discussed. I did find several errors while reading the book but there is a good errata website at www.sybex.com. If you pick up this book be sure and check out this site.

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Sybex
1 edition
September 2000
899 pages

Reviewed by Paul Wheaton, January 2000
  (10 of 10)


Reviews of 1st edition. 2nd Edition reviews coming soon.
I based 75% of my prep time for the Java certification exam on this book. After all, one of the authors wrote the exam! I scored a 97% on the exam. Need I say more? :)

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Sybex
1 edition
September 2000
899 pages

Reviewed by Kathy Sierra, May 1999



Kathy Sierra's comment: Don't even THINK about trying to pass the SCJP without studying this book and taking the example tests.

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SCWCD Exam Study Kit
by Hanumant Deshmukh, Jigneh Malavia


Manning Publications
unknown edition
July 2002
560 pages

Reviewed by Jessica Sant, August 2002
  (9 of 10)


The book is laid out in a logical straightforward fashion -- matching up exam objectives with Servlet/JSP topics and even covers a couple things that aren't (yet) on the exam, like Filters. It's written in a very easy-to-read, conversational tone and is an excellent resource for someone who's familiar with Java but not with Servlets and JSPs or even for someone familiar with them, but needs to brush up on some of the details for the exam. The bundled CD that comes with the book is chock full of excellent resources (3 JwebPlus mock exams, Tomcat 4, the relevant JSP and Servlet specs, and an electronic copy of the book). The quizlets and notes intermixed within each chapter help you to confirm that you understood what you just read -- and also explain a couple "gotchas". The author's website contains an excellent little forum where you can get hold of the author's to ask questions or report errors in the book. I'll definitely use this book as a resource even after the exam.

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Sun Certified Enterprise Architect for J2EE Technology Study Guide
by Mark Cade, Simon Roberts


Prentice Hall PTR
unknown edition
March 2002
224 pages

Reviewed by Ajith Kallambella, March 2003
  (7 of 10)


Writing a certification guide poses some serious challenges to the author. Having co-authored a guide my self, I understand how tricky it is to decide how much to cover. A test like SCEA that covers such a broad ground makes the job even tougher.

The first ever SCEA guide met most of my expectations. It is concise, covers most of the exam objectives and most importantly, maintains the focus on the test without digressing over to J2EE trivia. Every chapter attempts to cover a set of objectives, and has a review section followed by some sample test questions. The accompanying answers provide explanation of correct, incorrect and not-so correct choices. The book also introduces a case study that introduces the reader to skills essential for solving part-II assignment.

I said the book covers "most" of the objectives. That's where it falls short of expectations. Any study guide should, at the least, cover all the test objectives. Some test objectives such as Legacy connectivity and Messaging have been totally left out which made me question the seal of approval from SunEducation! It is one thing not to cover an objective in detail, but totally dropping a couple of them is inexcusable. A good reader can easily point out some spottiness too - such as not including the state diagram for entity beans along with that of session beans.

In summary, they badly need to fill some gaping holes, and to the extent possible, work towards completeness.

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Mike Meyers' Java 2 Certification Passport
by Cindy Glass, Jane Griscti, Margarita Isayeva, Ajith Kallambella, and Kathy Sierra


McGraw-Hill
unknown edition
October 2001
450 pages

Reviewed by Marilyn de Queiroz, November 2001
  (7 of 10)


The book combines easy readability with a condensed format. It has a casual, friendly style. I liked the organization of the book including its exam tips and links to more information.

The individual chapters in this book are a good resource for individual topics covered on the SCJP2 exam, but it suffers from lack of cohesiveness. Some chapters cover topics in detail while other chapters limit discussion specifically to what is covered on the exam. Some chapters repeat some information that is contained in other chapters, which is good if you are only reading that chapter. The repetition also helps to solidify the concept when you are reading the book straight through. Some chapters contain a lot of code demonstrating the concepts, while others contain very little code. However, individually all the chapters were very clear in their presentation of the subject at hand. And seeing the organization of the authors' thoughts helped clarify many of the concepts that previously had seemed opaque after reading other exam prep books.

The index was not very useful when I used it to try to find a section I knew I had read but couldn't remember where it was in the book.

The book comes with a CD containing a couple of mock exams. You must install it to take the exam, and it has a few bugs (missing words in the explanations).

On the whole I found this book to be detailed, complete, compact, accurate, and useful.

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Java 2 Exam Prep, 2nd Edition
by Bill Brogden, Marcus Green


Coriolis Group Books
second edition
July 2001
640 pages

Reviewed by Matthew Phillips, November 2001
  (7 of 10)


If you are an experienced OO programmer that looking for an overview of java or someone looking for another resource for certification, then this book may be for you.

Each chapter uses the K.I.S.S. approach to the topics making this book easy to read and even easier to understand. The review questions are good and the real world examples section provides good reinforcement for each topic.

This book is not without problems, however. The book never really goes into detail on reference casting/conversion. I also found the coverage of Exceptions to be incomplete. The practice test on the CD also has the problem of using a single-quote to create string literals instead of a double quote. This can certainly lead to confusion.

Overall, I think this is a nice book for certification, but it should not be your only resource.

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Java 2 Exam Cram
by Bill Brogden,


Coriolis Group Books
second edition
June 2001
448 pages

Reviewed by Matthew Phillips, November 2001
  (8 of 10)


Second Edition is here and the title says it all. This book truly is an exam cram; do not expect to see anything new.

The chapter organization is similar to the larger, more detailed certification study manuals, making it a nice complement to any one of them. There are just enough details to refresh your memory. That in itself will help point out your weak areas. The review questions are good, but the second edition still has the annoying format of having the answer immediately after the question. The practice exam at the end was not quite as hard as I would have liked.

Overall, I think this title is a good buy if you are looking for a quick review of the exam topics.

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Coriolis Group Books
1 edition
April 1999
400 pages

Reviewed by Bill Compton, March 2001



This book provides a solid foundation for SCJP2 preparation for programmers, especially those familiar with C or C++. (If you're new to programming, then start with a more basic book, like Peter van der Linden's Just Java 2.) The writing style is brief and to-the-point, which makes the book a quick read. However, if you decide to use the book as your primary resource, you should supplement it with an additional text, such as the "RHE" book to reinforce areas where you feel weak. I suggest marking key statements and then re-reading these several times as you get close to the exam.
Each chapter has very helpful study questions at the end that help test your understanding of the chapter. However, the layout of the questions makes self-test a little difficult because the answer appears immediately below the question, requiring the reader to clumsily cover the answer while considering the question. (Suggestion to the author / publisher: In the next edition, put questions on the right-hand page and corresponding answers on the following left-hand page. It'll take a few more pages but greatly simplify using the questions.) Also, there is a sample test at the end of the book that provides a pretty good final "self-check" to assess readiness.

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Java 2 Exam Notes
by Phillip Heller


Sybex
1 edition
January 2000
258 pages

Reviewed by Annmarie Ziegler, November 2001
  (6 of 10)


Just as the title implies 'Java Exam Notes' is not a complete SCJP study guide, so don't expect it to be. Think of it as a companion book to your main study guide.
The book is written for those who have already begun preparing for the exam and are now looking for a book for further review. Although the book does a good job of covering all the objectives of the exam, it does not go in to detail on any one topic. The reader must be familiar with the topics and must have a good understanding of them to effectively use the book.
The format of the book is to state the objective, give the key topics and concepts and then provide some sample questions. The sample questions are meant to reinforce your knowledge of the reviewed concepts, and are therefore not the typical certification sample questions that people are used to seeing. I was a bit disappointed in the number of errors in the book, so I recommend going to the Sybex site to check the errata pages before reading.
For those people who don't want to prepare their own study notes, then this book is for them. Although I feel the book is helpful in preparing for the exam, I do believe that if one took the time, you could create the same type of notes...okay, not so nicely typed and presented, but the content would be the same.

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