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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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Apache Struts 2 Web Application Development
by Dave Newton


Packt
1 edition
June 15, 2009
384 pages

Reviewed by Jeanne Boyarsky, October 2009
  (7 of 10)


"Apache Struts 2" is like two books in one. The first part is a 200 page book on Struts. The second part is a 150 page series of essays on related technologies and good practices in web application development.

If you've read my previous reviews of Packt books, you'll know I tend to like their shorter books better. This book kept the attributes of a short book that I like since it's like the book was only 200 pages. The longest code example was 1.5 pages and even that length was rare. There were the collection of typos I've seen in most Packt books though which unfortunately precludes a higher rating.

The first/main part covers Struts 2 clearly and succinctly. It is fast moving, includes gotchas/tips and provides opportunities for further exploration. I particularly liked the discussion of tradeoffs with techniques when it comes to maintenance. There are notes for Struts 1 developers.

The second part is a mix. It includes things like intro to JavaScript, why version control/testing/documentation matter and how to use Struts with AJAX. I'm not clear on what some of this has to do with Struts, but it is things everyone should know. The beginning of the book is written for experienced people (along with side notes on cool techniques) and later part as if for people without training. Or maybe for people who haven't been exposed to practices?

Overall, I did learn Struts 2 from the book and was entertained throughout.

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Java Server Side Programming: The Conceptual Foundation
by Mukesh Prasad


CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
1.0.1 edition
August 2013
186 pages

Reviewed by Ulf Dittmer, November 2013
  (8 of 10)



This book teaches the foundations of server-side web development in Java by creating a basic servlet/JSP container from scratch. This is a very different, and rather interesting, approach than is usually taken. It starts with a socket client and server communicating with one another, gets into the basics of HTTP, then adds serving static files, error handling, cookies and form processing. At each step the server is extended to handle the new features, and the author explains the necessary HTTP and web concepts. The server is then extended to handle a basic version of servlets and sessions, and finally to handle a basic version of JSPs, including auto-recompilation and reloading. (All code is downloadable from the net, so instead of programming along -which is nonetheless recommended-, the reader can run the ready-made code as is.) All this takes up about two thirds of the book; the remaining chapters talk about how the features introduced with the server relate to the actual servlet and JSP specifications, and what features those provide that go further than that.

This approach works pretty well, making the reader acquainted not just with the specifics of servlets and JSPs, but also provides some detail on why certain features of the web are as they are - useful knowledge that often gets short shrift in pure programming introductions.

The lack of an index is not as strange as it sounds at first, because the book is a tutorial, meant to be read from start to finish, rather than a reference. And since it's rather short -less than 180 pages, a nice change from the usual tech tomes- and has an extensive table of contents, this reviewer didn't miss the it.

The book could have done with more extensive editing and proofreading -it was apparently self-published, as no publisher is mentioned- but the issues are minor.

---
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

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Practical RichFaces
by Max Katz and Ilya Shaikovsky


Apress
second edition
2011
392 pages

Reviewed by Gregory Charles, November 2011
  (7 of 10)



This book is a worthy tutorial and reference for RichFaces 4.0, which is a topic currently poorly covered both online and elsewhere. Its two authors are closely involved with the development of RichFaces, and their inside perspective is evident throughout. Without becoming overly mired in details, they first provide a good conceptual view of how the overall framework functions, and then demonstrate each component and the various configuration files aided by a plethora of code examples. In particular, they do a very good job of comparing and contrasting the AJAX capabilities of Java ServerFaces(JSF) 2 with those of RichFaces 4, explaining where there is overlap, and where RichFaces provides benefits. As a RichFaces 3.3.x developer, I would have liked to see more information about porting an existing application to RichFaces 4, which I have found is far from trivial. I also would have liked to see some discussion about certain features of RichFaces 3 that so far have not been migrated to Rich Faces 4, and a road map of RichFaces' future. However, I did learn a lot from this book, and I would recommend it to anyone currently using RichFaces 4, or thinking about starting.

---
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

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Core JavaServer Faces
by David Geary, Cay Horstmann, David Geary, Cay S. Horstmann


Prentice Hall PTR
1 edition
June 2004
552 pages

Reviewed by Jeanne Boyarsky, July 2004
  (8 of 10)


"Core JavaServer Faces" introduces JSF to programmers only requiring HTML and Java knowledge. The first chapter explains how to setup the examples using Tomcat and Ant. The authors show everything needed to run all the examples, including the directory structure.

Most of the book is also appropriate for experienced web developers. The second half has involved topics. The authors include a few comparisons to Struts and comment on how to combine the two frameworks. The authors keep most of the technical/advanced concepts at the end of the chapters and mark them clearly.

The first half of the book explains JSF. It includes everything you should know to use a framework, such as lifecycle and tags. The second half of the book shows how to use JSF with longer examples. This includes Tiles, custom components, JDBC and LDAP. There is even a chapter of wireless devices and combining JSF with MIDP. The last chapter is 25 "How do I..." questions, like those here at JavaRanch.

The book highlights best practices where possible. It uses some, such as style sheets and message bundles, through the examples. It even mentions cross-site scripting attacks and how JSF can assist in preventing them. I had a copy of the first edition first printing. There were some minor typos and a missing reference, but the authors promise this will be corrected in the next printing. The reference is also on the book's website. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book.

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Prentice Hall PTR
third edition
June 2010
672 pages

Reviewed by David O'Meara, October 2010
  (10 of 10)


While I am still undecided about some of the virtues of JavaServer Faces, this is easily the best resource that I am aware of for those wanting to pick up the technology.

Part of the problem (in my opinion) with JSF are the changes between versions and the complexity when coexisting with other complimenting technologies like JSP, annotations and even HTML and containers. This is the main strength of this book since it provides a roadmap for navigating the intricacies and gotchas without making the core text illegible. Yes, the text is scattered with side comments but it still allows the knowledge to flow without being too distracting.

I also found the examples perfect in complexity and size. They highlight the points from the text without dominating the book and forcing the user to skip pages at a time. The code could have been reduced if the authors used more code snippets rather than complete listings, but the full code was often useful since the book is aimed at beginner to intermediate users that will benefit from having the big picture provided.

It is a Beginner to Intermediate JSF book, and users of that level will benefit from this book as both a learning and reference resource and in my opinion it is worth a place on the JSF-user book shelf.
---
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

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Stripes: ...and Java web development is fun again (Pragmatic Programmers)
by Frederic Daoud


Pragmatic Bookshelf
1 edition
October 2008
396 pages

Reviewed by Ulf Dittmer, January 2009
  (8 of 10)


Web application frameworks are a dime a dozen these days, so any new one faces an uphill battle for adoption. This book explains why - when choosing a web framework next time - you might want to take a long, hard look at Stripes.

The book starts with a simple example that shows all major parts of Stripes in action, just to give the reader a feeling for how things are wired together (although there's not much wiring to do). For the remainder of the book, one application is developed from scratch (a web-mail front-end), adding features step by step, thereby making use of more and more of Stripes' features.

The major aspects of all web applications are handled early on: creating and handling forms using JSP and JSTL, form parameter to Java object binding, validation, error handling, implementing MVC, dealing with I18N, and how to reuse common layouts. Further chapters deal with unit testing with mock objects, integration with other frameworks like JPA and Spring, using Stripes as an AJAX back-end, and web application security. A chapter on how to tap into Stripes' inner workings shows how to customize its operation, in the event that should ever become necessary.

I found the author's style very approachable, explaining each new concept with examples of when it might (or might not) be advantageous to use. At each step a new version of the web mail application was at hand that demonstrated how the newly introduced concepts improved on the previous version (all the code is downloadable from the book's web site). Overall, I commend the author on the book. After reading it I have a good feeling for all the things Stripes can do to make developing web applications easier and - yes indeed- fun again.

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Pro Spring 2.5
by Jan Machacek, Jessica Ditt, Aleksa Vukotic, Anirvan Chakraborty


Apress
1 edition
August 2008
920 pages

Reviewed by Mark Spritzler, December 2008
  (9 of 10)


8 1/2, but since we only have 8 or 9, I liked it enough to make sure I rounded up instead of down.

I highly recommend this book to learn Core Spring. It is the only book currently out by Dec 08 that covers version 2.5. Other books still only cover 2.0

I found the writing easy to understand, I found that they covered the material very well with good examples. They cover a lot of material and leave you with great in-depth knowledge in each of those Spring technologies.

Now, I don't agree with everything they say in the book, but it isn't that they are wrong, but that I just disagree with certain statements. For example, in a Note section they stated that "They do not encourage the use of annotations on the objects you will persist using Hibernate." Using JPA Annotations, from an ORM tool expert, is a best practice and makes your life so much easier, in my opinion, and many other ORM experts. This note should have been left out of the book, unless they wanted to fully cover why.

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Wicket in Action
by Martijn Dashorst, Eelco Hillenius


Manning Publications
1 edition
June 2008
400 pages

Reviewed by David O'Meara, May 2008
  (6 of 10)


One thing to keep in mind is that while I was lucky enough to get an 'early access' copy of the book from Manning, I discovered that PDF books are not for me and this affected my impression of the book.

For me the information came a little too thick and fast, and assumed more existing knowledge than I already had. This made several sections confusing and I had to re-read the section, or a previous section, before being able to understand. It is an advantage having this level of knowledge about the architecture and underlying decisions that made Wicket what it is, but I wasn't sure about the order or rate of delivery.

It isn't a bad book by any means. There is still plenty of in depth knowledge and examples that will benefit any Wicket application, and the later chapters address areas like authorisation, internationalisation and deployment that will make the difference between a good application and a successful one.

Personally however, I was a little disappointed as it didn't match my requirements or expectations, and I was hoping for more.

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Struts 2 Design and Programming
by Budi Kurniawan


BrainySoftware
second edition
January 2008
576 pages

Reviewed by Marc Peabody, February 2008
  (9 of 10)


I'm convinced this is and will remain the authoritative book on Struts 2. I know that more are being written but I don't care. You will not find one better.

I've never worked with Struts 2 in the past yet I was able to get a pretty solid understanding of it in a very short amount of time. Granted, I've had plenty of experience with the original Struts, JSF, and other web technologies, but I think even a beginner could pick this up fairly easily.

I let a friend of mine who had used Struts 2 on a project before skim through my copy of Struts 2 Design and Programming to check for any gaping holes or errant information before writing this review. It passed his inspection. (Thanks, Eric!)

I initially was a little skeptical when I saw that this Struts 2 book includes many other topics like DAOs, Velocity, FreeMarker, Dojo, and JFreeChart. These sections actually were quite pleasant to read and were great introductions to those topics without taking anything away from the main topic.

When you start making your way into chapters 5 and 6, feel free to jump around to other chapters. Come back to these chapters every once in a while to chew off two or three of the tags at a time. This tip will add to your reading enjoyment.

Overall, this is a terrific book and I highly recommend it to anyone working with or curious about Struts 2.

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Murach's Java Servlets and JSP
by Andrea Steelman, Joel Murach, Andrea Steelman, Joel Murach


Mike Murach & Associates
second edition
January 2008
758 pages

Reviewed by David O'Meara, April 2008
  (10 of 10)


The previous version of "Murach's Servlets and JSPs" was a good book, and this one is too.

The book is described for use as "Training and reference", and while books tend to be good for one purpose or the other I found this one did manage to accomplish both objectives. The information is presented in small, distinct and incremental sections, and each block of code is clear and concise. It also contains all of the important information required to get a good start developing Servlets. I also found the same layout worked well when accessing the information as a reference.

It was very amusing that the book managed to get through four whole chapters before addressing Servlets or JSPs in detail, but given that many people leap into Servlets while their other technical skills are still growing, this prelude will be valuable to many beginners. These chapters are spent introducing web programming with Java, setting up Tomcat and the Netbeans IDE, and a one chapter crash course in HTML.

All of the required topics are covered elegantly, and enough room is left over to provide the same level of coverage for the next level of knowledge such as SSL, JavaMail, connecting to databases, container managed security and even some raw HTTP.

While I would not usually consider 10 horseshoes for a programming resource, this one is less likely to be read and forgotten, and should be of use for the first few years of Servlet programming for the novice. Therefore it is easy to recommend adding this one to your bookshelf.

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Mike Murach & Associates
second edition
January 2008
758 pages

Reviewed by Christophe Verre, February 2008
  (9 of 10)


"Murach's Java Servlets and JSPs" covers a broad range of web development related topics such as servlets and JSP. It uses a two-page layout, with theory on the left page, and examples, figures, code, summary on the right page.

The book starts with a step-by-step installation of Tomcat 6, Netbeans and MySql, following with instructions on how to use each of them. Then starts the journey to web application development: Servlets, JSP, EL, JSTL, custom tags, filters, listeners. From scriptlets to the Expression Language, from MVC Model 1 to Model 2, using database, JavaMail, dealing with security, everything is clearly written and logically explained. I found that the chapter on custom tags could have been more polished, and a chapter on Tag Files would have been welcome too.

The icing on the cake is all the hands-on exercises. Each chapter concludes with a summary, and practical exercises. I strongly recommend downloading the sample applications and going through each exercise carefully, as it will certainly improve your learning experience. Moreover, the last section introduces a music store application to put all the freshly assimilated knowledge into practice.

This book is mainly aimed at beginners, but it is still a great refresher for experienced users. It is very practical, and will make Servlets and JSP fun to learn. It is so enjoyable that you'll finish reading it in no time. I wish I had such a book when I started developing web applications. Highly recommended.

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Mike Murach & Associates
1 edition
January 2003
642 pages

Reviewed by Thomas Paul, June 2003
  (9 of 10)


If you are looking for a book that is going to teach you Servlets and JSP in a very easy way with a lot of hand holding then you are looking for this book. The authors make the assumption that the reader knows the basics of Java but has absolutely no knowledge of internet programming.

The authors start by guiding the reader through the process of installing Tomcat (all the samples use Tomcat as the servlet engine) and creating a simple HTML page before they introduce you to Servlets and JSP. Servlets and JSP are covered separately and then working together in the Model 2 architecture. The one thing missing from this section is any mention of Struts or other MVC frameworks. Advanced topics such as using SSL and restricting access to a web site are covered very well and in a way that makes it easy to follow and understand. The authors even show how to write your own tag libraries. Unfortunately, no mention is made of JSTL. The authors show how to install and use MySQL and how to code SQL before moving on to explain using JDBC in a web application. The book ends with a complete sample application of an online store including secure credit card handling.

This is an excellent tutorial that will painlessly teach you how to write complex web applications. I doubt that there is another book available that makes the subject this easy to understand.

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Tapestry 5: Building Web Applications
by Alexander Kolesnikov


Packt Publishing
1 edition
January 2008
280 pages

Reviewed by David O'Meara, March 2008
  (8 of 10)


"Tapestry 5: Building Web Applications" was not written by the creator of Tapestry, but the author Alexander Kolesnikov is a contributor to the project and has been associated with the technology for a while. I liked this since when the author is also the creator, they often want others to love their work the way they do, and the book either feels like they are selling something or it makes assumptions on knowledge required to learn the technology and misses key points.

The book builds on the features of Tapestry in an easy and nonthreatening manner, so that each example feels accessible to the reader. In fact it was quite pleasing the way that the features unfolded during the book, and to me this was more of an encouragement to use the framework than any type of forced sell. There is a pro-Tapestry stance throughout the book, but that shouldn't be too surprising!

It is worth pointing out that Tapestry was rewritten from version 3 to version 4 to version 5, and while initially this confused me and gave me fears for V6, it does allow the current version to make use of the full features of Java 5, all of which is laid out in the book. Since the book does target Tapestry version 5 only, it won't be of direct help to anyone needing help upgrading from a previous version. The book is also geared more towards learning Tapestry than being a useful resource, so this should also be taken into account when purchasing.

Now that I have read the book, "Tapestry 5" has succeeded in getting me interested in using Tapestry to build a project of my own, and the advanced section on creating your own components gave me some ideas...

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Core Servlets and Javaserver Pages: Advanced Technologies, Vol. 2
by Marty Hall, Larry Brown, Yaakov Chaikin


Prentice Hall PTR
second edition
December 2007
736 pages

Reviewed by Jeanne Boyarsky, February 2008
  (7 of 10)


"Core Servlets and JavaServer Pages, Volume 2: Advanced Technologies" targets developers who already know Java and basic servlets/JSPs. Note this book's second edition does not cover the latest technologies. It uses J2EE 1.3/1.4 and Struts 1.3.

The main topics are advanced deployment descriptor settings, security, custom tags, filters, event handling and JSTL. Then there are three very good chapters on Struts 1.3, although I'm not sure what they have to do with "core servlets." The browser screenshots were good for showing output and the examples were excellent.

As with "Core Java", the 700 page book contains some long classes. I could have done without the complete 5 page deployment descriptor at the end since it was gradually built up with new additions highlighted. Highlighting does help with spatial orientation.

I did notice a couple typos in the book. None of these affected the meaning, but it gives you the impression it wasn't proofread as carefully as other books. And (at least my copy) had a printing error where one page was missing a few lines.

The book mostly pointed out best practices. There were a few exceptions such as one chapter mentioning which jsp page should establish a database connection. Different chapters had different opinions on whether there should be scriptlets in a JSP as well.

Overall the book was fine although I would prefer to invest in a different title -- either fully on Struts or fully on servlets/JSPs.

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Practical Apache Struts 2 Web 2.0 Projects
by Ian Roughley


Apress
1 edition
November 2007
338 pages

Reviewed by Jeanne Boyarsky, February 2008
  (7 of 10)


"Practical Apache Struts2 Web 2.0 Projects" walks you through developing an app in Struts2. It includes use cases, iterations, a build process and some unit tests.

A number of other reviews correctly point out this book is not for beginners. You should be familiar with MVC before starting out. This was ok as I wasn't expecting an "intro to struts 2" book based on the title. The author includes a section on Hibernate bare essentials to get readers with different experience on the same page.

I found there to be a good balance between how Struts 2.0 works and implementing common things you might actually want to do in practice. While the book does cover Web 2.0 a bit, this is more of an extra buzzword in the title. The last two chapters are really the Web 2.0 part -- RSS and AJAX.

The end left me a little off balance. There was a whole chapter of introduction. The end was the AJAX chapter and the immediately dumped you in the index. A bit of conclusion, or at least a blank page, would have been nice.

Overall, the book was fine. It is good for a "recipes of common tasks" type book once you have read a bit about Struts 2.0.

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Professional Apache Tomcat 6
by Vivek Chopra, Sing Li, Jeff Genender


Wrox
1 edition
August 2007
629 pages

Reviewed by David O'Meara, January 2008
  (9 of 10)


I was really impressed with this book and felt like it had been written with my requirements in mind. The other Tomcat books I have read felt like they were paraphrasing the online help; additional material was provided, but little of it was new. While reading the first few chapters of this book, several of my ongoing queries had been answered, and there were a bunch of other gems as well - it sorted out my AJP and APR queries, gave options for running Tomcat on privileged ports without running as root, and dug further into the server.xml configuration than I. Professional Apache Tomcat 6 is aimed at the serious Tomcat user. It will be useful to people that do serious tinkering at home, but it is a an absolute bible if you have Tomcat running production code or other critical uses. Personally I found that the level of information did not always provide 100% coverage but, for example, the level of detail provided covering server.xml, web.xml and context.xml configuration will be of great use. The descriptions go into plenty of detail but rarely goes overboard. Examples of places to hook into or extend the existing functionality are pointed out, but the authors don't get distracted in providing sample implementations when the defaults are sufficient. The information is full of the sort professional advice and directions that I would expect from a book of this name, and that has been sadly missing from the other offerings I have seen. As a short description, it covers topics like AJP connectors, Apache Portable Runtime libraries, configuring Tomcat behind IIS or Apache servers, clustering, shared hosting, oodles of configuration options, and also takes two chapters to look at testing the performance and then tuning applications running Tomcat. If I had to provide negative comments, I would say that the book was written by three authors and at times it doesn't mesh well and it is clear that one section had a different author to another. There were also a couple of areas that didn't have the coverage I had hoped, but in most cases an explanation was given as to why this was done. Realistically I find it difficult to fault this book and look forward to migrating our own servers to Tomcat 6 and tweaking the behaviour using the information provided. With this book in hand I feel completely confident that I have the know-how to set up the environment correctly.

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Struts: The Complete Reference
by James Holmes


McGraw-Hill
second edition
December 2006
800 pages

Reviewed by Andrew Monkhouse, June 2007
  (8 of 10)


Don't let the title confuse you: this is more than just a reference book. This book provides a worthy introduction to Struts in general, as well as references to the various Struts libraries and other components.

The one area I felt this book let's its readers down was in the areas outside of Struts that are still needed when developing Struts applications. For example, using non-standard HTML constructs (even when the standard constructs would have been easier to read), or including all the Struts libraries when not all were being used by the application at that time.

However these are minor issues: the book itself is well laid out, and easy to read. Readers who are new to Struts will soon be able to write their own Struts applications, and readers who already use Struts daily will learn new features and new tricks. This book starts with the very basics of how to get a Struts application up and running, provides information on how to scale your Struts applications so that the code and configuration does not become unwieldy, and how to make it a more professional application with information on internationalization and security. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. When counting in the reference materials, it is easy to see that this is a book that has something for anyone working with Struts, and is a valuable addition to any bookshelf.

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Learning Jakarta Struts 1.2: A concise and practical tutorial
by Stephan Wiesner


Packt Publishing
1 edition
August 2005
220 pages

Reviewed by Andrew Monkhouse, September 2005
  (8 of 10)


I enjoyed this book, both Mr. Wiesner's style of writing, and the way topics were introduced. The chapters are easy to read, and I never felt I was being lectured to. In addition, Mr. Wiesner has kept information relevant to the topic at hand without digressing into background information that might confuse newcomers. From as early as the second chapter you are developing in Struts, using a simple internationalization example. The chapters gradually build up from there, each one introducing new concepts in easy to read sections. By the end of the book, you will have created a simple bookstore application.

Mr. Wiesner assumes knowledge of Java, JSP, and Servlets, and expects you to have set up your JDK, Web Container, and Database before beginning. With this rudimentary knowledge, his introduction to Struts makes sense and examples are given demonstrating the differences between calling standard Java code from within a JSP and using the Struts equivalents.

My only complaints with this book are that the downloadable source code has not been converted into English (while the source code in the book has been) - this does not cause a major problem since the downloadable code is still very readable, but it does mean that the downloadable code does not exactly match the published code. Another issue is that the errata page does not appear to be regularly updated.

All in all, a very good book, and a welcome introductory book to Struts.

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Struts Design and Programming
by Budi Kurniawan


BrainySoftware.com
1 edition
April 2005
450 pages

Reviewed by Balaji Loganathan, May 2005
  (10 of 10)


You can save lot of time on browsing Internet on finding tutorials on Struts, yes this book gives you everything that you need to know on programming Struts.

Best buy for both the beginners and the experts, also tips you as a handy reference.

This book serves more than a tutorial on Struts. Even though you can find lot of free short online tutorials, this book made a great deal on putting together explaining every concept of the framework in a precise and down to earth manner.

You don't have to refer other books/sites, because each chapter is fully driven with examples, screen shots of application output framed on a browser, screen shots of webapp directory structure and the code snippets.

I particularly liked the chapters that covered the tasks like file upload, dataacesss,l18n and paging-sorting. I also liked the table listing the attributes, type and a short definition of every tag which is something that every programmer will look for.

The example codes were made ready to use with no complexity on configuring and understanding the package structure. (A little work is needed anyway).

Overall this is one of the effective Struts tutorial available in the market now.

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Struts: Essential Skills
by Steven Holzner


McGraw-Hill
1 edition
July 2004
408 pages

Reviewed by Lasse Koskela, August 2004
  (7 of 10)


I've been playing with Struts ever since 1.0 came out. However, I haven't worked with Struts on anything more than simple applications, which made this book sound like a perfect match for my needs. Especially as it covers Struts 1.2 (beta).

Mister Holzner does a great job explaining certain things that many other resources seem to omit, assuming that the reader can figure it out on her own (often by reading source code). In general, the book's contents feels like a good match for the book's stated target audience.

The negative remarks I wrote down while going through the chapters included a lot of tiny issues like not explaining all attributes (even with a one-sentence mention) of the action mappings in a Struts configuration file. Also, it was weird to be taught how one uses "javac" -- the book clearly states that working knowledge of Java is assumed.

Furthermore, many example code snippets in the book use horrible package and class names such as "ch03.ch03_05", which makes it unnecessarily difficult to keep track of which file is which. Also, the decision to employ a custom taglib, , just to set up a list of items for testing when a simple scriptlet would do?

Regardless of me whining about the smaller issues, I'd say "Struts: Essential Skills" is a great learning resource for Struts. It's far from sufficient as a reference, but I've never seen as effective a Struts tutorial than this.

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Pro Jakarta Struts
by John Carnell, Rob Harrop, John Carnell, Jeff Linwood, Maciej Zawadzki


Apress
second edition
March 2004
600 pages

Reviewed by Dirk Schreckmann, July 2004
  (8 of 10)


"Pro Jakarta Struts, Second Edition" by John Carnell with Rob Harrop is the best book on developing Struts-based web applications I've read. (I've read at least five or six others.)

The title of the book is a bit of a misnomer, as it covers much more than just Struts 1.1 fundamentals. This book aims higher, including chapters on web application Patterns and Antipatterns, XDoclet, Velocity and ObjectRelationalBridge, along with good explanations of various Struts-specific topics.

"Pro Jakarta Struts, Second Edition" is a pretty thick book at 578 pages. I didn't notice a single page wasted to printing some API. It isn't really a technical cookbook to be placed on a nearby shelf for quick reference during development to look up the basics of using some technology. Instead, the authors focused on good practices used when developing web applications, including explanations of why a technology should be used and how to use it, recurring problems that others have experienced (Antipatterns) and what to do instead (Patterns), and other pieces of advice designed to get the reader's brain thinking in web applications.

If you're in the market for a book on Struts-based web applications, get this one. It covers Struts 1.1 well, but it doesn't stop where Struts leaves off.

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Apress
second edition
March 2004
600 pages

Reviewed by Mark Spritzler, July 2004
  (8 of 10)


This book is the second edition and is a great improvement over the first. Originally released by Wrox, the first edition was pushed out the door just before they went out of business. Apress bought the book and now publishes it.

In this edition they removed the chapter on Lucene and replaced it with a chapter on Tiles, which was briefly mentioned in the first edition. Also added are chapters on dynamic forms and the Struts Validator framework and on XDoclet. These chapters, along with the improvements and corrections in the other chapters make this edition a great choice for those learning Struts and for those that want to learn how best to architect a Struts based application.

I really admire a book that goes above and beyond teaching the basics and is more than just a glorified tutorial book. Pro Jakarta Struts goes above and beyond and presents the reader with an easy to read, well written book that gives us a formula for building successful web applications.

My only suggestion is to skip the chapter on OJB and start learning Hibernate or a JDO implementation for you database mapping tool. If you are building a simple app with a simple database, then OJB can work for you, but I found it to be fickle. I also know that if they tried to add a Hibernate chapter, this book would be very large.

If you want to learn Struts the right way, get this book.

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Apress
1 edition
August 2003
336 pages

Reviewed by Thomas Paul, October 2003
  (6 of 10)


This book is a reprint of a Wrox book that APress bought when Wrox went out of business. Although the book has a publication date of September 2003, it was actually published by Wrox earlier in the year. Also, APress intends on releasing a second edition of this book (ISBN:159059228X) in December 2003. With that in mind, let's discuss the contents of this book.

The book is broken up into five sections. The first and longest section discusses Struts. This section is very good as it concentrates on developing a Struts application and demonstrates good design while discussing the issues that make bad designs bad. This section ends with a look at using ObjectRelationalBridge (OJB) as a data access tier. Unfortunately the book uses an beta version of OJB (it is still not in release) that makes this section obsolete. The remaining chapters cover other open source tools available to developers including Velocity (template engine), Lucene (search engine), and Ant (build tool). Although it is interesting to see how each tool integrates into the Struts application developed earlier, the chapters are not long enough to give detailed information on any of these tools.

The conclusion is that if you are looking for a book on properly building a Struts application, you probably want to wait for the second edition. Since the OJB chapter is obsolete and the chapters on the other tools are fairly brief, this book doesn't provide anything that shouts, "Buy Me" from the shelves.

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Struts Survival Guide
by Srikanth Shenoy, Nithin Mallya


ObjectSource Publications
1 edition
February 2004
224 pages

Reviewed by Jessica Sant, July 2004
  (8 of 10)


Struts Survival Guide explains a lot of the Struts platform, and gives many effective code snippets to help guide the learning process. This book is good for someone who is just learning Struts or has previously been exposed to it and wants to learn more about all the bells and whistles. When each concept is introduced it's explained well and then the reason behind why you would or wouldn't want to use the technique is given. That kind of discussion really helps the reader to understand how they might use it in their own application.

I have two main issues with the book:

* The first is all the grammar and spelling errors that plague the book. At times it gets distracting and makes the book a bit tough to follow. But this problem may be easily addressed in a future printing the book.

* The second is their index (or lack thereof). While reviewing the book I was working on a Struts project and would often grab the book to understand a new tag or a new concept that I'd never used before, but the index rarely listed the concept I was searching for even though I knew the book covered the topic because I'd read about it previously. For this reason, I believe the book is better read cover to cover and not as a desk reference. But the $15 price and the 225-page length makes buying it for that purpose easy to handle.

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Beginning JSP 2: From Novice to Professional
by Peter Den Haan, Lance Lavandowska, Sathya Narayana Panduranga, Krishnaraj Perrumal


Apress
1 edition
February 2004
463 pages

Reviewed by Dirk Schreckmann, September 2004
  (8 of 10)


"Beginning JSP 2?" Yeah, right. Try: "Beginning JSP 2, HTML, JDBC, Java, JSTL, XML, XSLT, XML DTDs, XML Schemas, Servlets, Filters, with some MVC (Model 2) and Struts thrown in for Good Measure". While my recommended title is a bit too long to be practical as a book title, it would better capture the materials covered from an introductory level, in "Beginning JSP 2".

In about 360 pages, through 10 chapters, this book covers the technologies listed above, describing what they are, what they do, why folks are using them, how to use them, and how they relate and work with other technologies. Following these action packed chapters, the appendixes serve as great quick references on JSP syntax, implicit JSP objects, and various XML configuration files.

To nitpick a bit: The book could benefit from some more aggressive editing, in parts, where sentence and paragraph wording is occasionally a little clumsy, and a few good-to-understand details were left out.

The description on the back cover of the book says, "All you need... is a basic understanding of HTML and Java." I suggest this be corrected as follows: "All you need to know in order to follow and understand the lessons in 'Beginning JSP 2' is enough HTML to create a 'Hello World!' web page, and enough Java to create a 'Hello World!' application." On second thought, even if you can't do those things, yet, after reading this book, you'll be able to do a whole lot more.

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JavaServer Pages
by Hans Bergsten, Hans Bergsten, Hans Bergsten


O'Reilly
third edition
December 2003
664 pages

Reviewed by Valentin Crettaz, April 2004
  (9 of 10)


JSP lovers, don't look further: this book is for you!! The third edition of JavaServer Pages by Hans Bergsten is not just an update of the second edition. It contains plenty of fresh material and covers the new JSP 2.0 and Java Standard Template Library 1.1 specifications. JSTL provides a significant number of ready-to-use JSP tags for accessing databases, internationalizing page contents and for manipulating variables, URLs and XML streams. Together, JSP and JSTL make it very easy to quickly develop dynamic and attractive web sites.

This book represents an excellent and complete resource that is beneficial not only to Java developers but also to non-programmers who may now participate in the creation of dynamic web pages and custom tag libraries by means of the so-called tag files without writing a single line of Java code. Several chapters contain great material for learning the JSP-related objectives of the new Sun Certified Web Component Developer certification exam (1.4).

Furthermore, the author goes beyond the honorable task of technically describing JSPs by providing deep insights as to how JSP, servlets and the Struts framework fit together into the J2EE big picture. He also presents advanced subjects, such as performance issues in database access, page caching, JSP precompilation, error handling and authentication.

Finally, the book provides many appendices among which you will find an exhaustive reference of JSTL actions and JSP elements (including the Expression Language) as well as the JSTL and JSP APIs.

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O'Reilly
second edition
August 2002
684 pages

Reviewed by Ajith Kallambella, October 2002
  (7 of 10)


If you have read the first edition of this book, you will notice the difference. More examples, lots of information of what has changed since then including JSP 1.2 spec changes and how the new technologies like XML and JSTL from Sun has changed the way programmers work with JSP.

The book offers more than a quick JSP tutorial. The readers will be introduced to "buddy" Java technologies like EJB, JDBC and of course plain Java servlets. All the examples have been tried on Apache Tomcat. The author also talks about web architecture and realizing the MVC pattern using JSPs. Naturally, you will find jars and jars full of beans and custom tags.

Speaking of custom tags, the readers should expect to get lost wandering through a plethora "ora" tags written by the author himself. It will make one wonder if they just bought a custom tag book wrongly titled as a JSP guide!. The author heavily relies on his own "ora" custom tag library to explain plain and standard concepts such as JDBC instead of teaching the readers to write code from scratch using Sun s JSP.

To summarize, this is a nice JSP book for beginners. But if you already know JSPs and have been working with them for a while, be ready for a perspective, and take things with a pinch of salt.

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O'Reilly
1 edition
December 2000
572 pages

Reviewed by Carl Trusiak, February 2001
  (7 of 10)


The book is broken down into three sections: JSP Application Basics, JSP Application Development and JSP in J2EE and JSP Component Development. There is sufficient detail to assist a team through the development of a site using JSP's. I believe the intention on the layout is to segregate the tasks of developing the Presentation from the development of the applications logic. However, the breakdown of the three sections, make it difficult in my opinion to get a grasp on things. This stems from the fact that while JSP was developed so someone who knows little or no Java could still create effective dynamic pages with JSP. Personally, I don't feel JSP has achieved this yet. A person could read up to chapter 15 before realizing that ora isn't a standard JSP element or instruction. The book constantly makes forward reference, which unless you read things out of the intended order, leave you lost to the workings of the example they are on. After reading through the book completely, quite a few things clear up. I it will definitely be a well-used reference from my bookshelf.

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Art of Java Web Development
by Neal Ford


Manning Publications
1 edition
November 2003
624 pages

Reviewed by Thomas Paul, March 2004
  (8 of 10)


This book is about using frameworks for developing Java web applications. The author gives a thorough overview of some of the most popular frameworks and discusses the pros and cons of various web architectures. The discussion is almost exclusively in the Servlet/JSP realm with little discussion of back end applications servers. The audience that will find this book most useful are those who have some experience with Java web development and are looking to expand their knowledge of modern web architectures.

The first part of the book is a discussion of Java web architecture in general with a concentration on MVC architecture. The second part is an examination of some of the most popular frameworks in use today. This part is interesting as the author demonstrates the same application developed in the various frameworks. The section finishes with a list of criteria to use when evaluating any framework for your own development projects. The final part is a discussion of best practices in various aspects of a web architecture such as resource management, performance, and debugging. This section reads almost as a series of articles.

The book is not really a how-to guide to using the various frameworks. I had trouble getting a couple of the examples working exactly as provided and some of the discussion was a bit confusing. But the overall view of how to choose and then incorporate a framework into a well designed architecture makes the book a very worthwhile read.

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Servlets and JSP: The J2EE Web Tier
by Jayson Falkner, Kevin R. Jones


Addison-Wesley Professional
1 edition
September 2003
784 pages

Reviewed by Gregg Bolinger, October 2003
  (5 of 10)


Addison-Wesley has released yet another book covering Java Servlets and JavaServer Pages appropriately titled Servlets and JSP: The J2EE Web Tier. Jayson Falkner is known for several other books covering JSP and the JSTL while Kevin R Jones breaks into the J2EE scene with this book.

This book starts out like any other J2EE book for beginners covering topics like CGI, the HTTP protocol, and why we need a technology like Servlets and JSP. It then goes on to discuss how a web container like Tomcat works and how to deploy a simple "Hello World" servlet. But then, the book makes a startling jump to writing a servlet to upload a file. While this may be something most people will want to know how to do, I didn?t find it appropriate to discuss so early.

The rest of the book is pretty much a regurgitation of every other book on Servlets and JSP. The book promises to delve into the features of the new J2EE specification and inadequately does so by briefly discussing the Expression Language new to JSP in the same chapter that JavaBeans are discussed.

The book ends in classic fashion with Database access and DataSources which was highly expected. You can't have a Servlets and JSP book without this chapter.

All and all I would say that I was pretty disappointed in this book. If you are new to Servlets and JavaServer Pages I would suggest leaving this book on the shelf.

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JSP: Practical guide for Java Programmers
by Robert J. Brunner


Morgan Kaufmann
1 edition
September 2003
179 pages

Reviewed by Frank Carver, November 2003
  (7 of 10)


This is a slim and easy to read book which covers JSP 2.0 in just about the right amount of detail to get a competent Java programmer up to speed quickly and effectively. As well as JSP there is a also a very brief and shallow introduction to a few other associated technologies: servlets, CSS etc.

The writing style is polished and comfortable, but a worrying number of typos and other errata have slipped through the editing process, in particular in the first part of the book. I suggest it would be a good idea to check the associated web site before relying on the printed code and configuration examples. I'm also uneasy about the choice of example application used as a case study throughout the book. While everyone is likely to understand the idea of a bank, the examples given neither make a very convincing bank, nor make particularly good use of JSP technology.

This book will be useful for anyone starting work on a web application project which makes use of JSP 2.0, but who doesn't want to wade through the specification documents. If your project still runs on an older version, this book will only be frustrating, but it might just tempt you to upgrade.

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Professional JSP
by Simon Brown et al, Simon Brown et al


Apress
third edition
September 2003
624 pages

Reviewed by Gregg Bolinger, February 2004
  (10 of 10)


The title is a bit deceiving. Anyone who is familiar with or has read any of the previous Pro JSP editions knows this. This is Pro JSP Third Edition. It has been completely updated to cover the JSP 2.0 and the new Servlet 2.4 specification. But this is called Pro JSP. What do JSPs have to do with Servlets? If this is a question you are asking, you should probably go buy this book.

I feared the worst. An entire book about JSP. I'm going to learn how to code complete web applications using only JSP. This book is so much more. Not only does it cover about as much JSP as anyone can take, but it does it in the context of Model 2/MVC designed web applications. Chapter 1 page 7 begins with JavaServer Pages Best Practices. Talk about cutting to the chase.

The point I am making is that this book focuses on JSP but in the context of a well designed J2EE web application. It discusses other APIs when necessary to tie in the necessary components into your JSPs.

Did I mention this book covers the JSTL? How about choosing the best persistent layer for your application? Security? Yep, this book has just about everything you need to learn how to write well designed, secure, and robust J2EE web applications using JavaServer Pages as your view. And they still just called it Pro JSP.

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Apress
second edition
April 2001
1000 pages

Reviewed by Angela Poynton, June 2001
  (10 of 10)


I used the first edition of this book as my bible when I began to learn JSP. It ended up getting really battered since everyone in my office has borrowed it at some point. Now they can have it because now I have the second edition. The cool thing about the second edition is that although there are a bunch of new authors it's just as valuable to anyone developing JSP applications. This version covers JSP 1.1 and 1.2 and Servlets 2.2 and 2.3 plus Tag Libraries, the Struts Framework, Servlet Filtering, JDBC, XML, XLST and EJB. Edition 2 is a HUGE book but is really well indexed and extremely well-written. The code examples are available for download and they discuss how install, configure and implement them on Tomcat. Whilst I was reading this book I was asked to write a custom tag at work; four chapters of this book are dedicated to custom tags and I followed it through to create what is apparently a quite complex tag, without too many problems. One of the chapters is even dedicated to Custom Tag idioms which was extremely useful. JSP is growing all the time. This book will tell you just about anything you need to know. Yes it's big, yes it looks pricey but cheaper than five seperate books covering the same stuff. Plus it's completely up to date with the new specs so won't be out of date for a while.

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JSTL: Practical Guide for JSP Programmers
by Sue Spielman


Morgan Kaufmann
1 edition
August 2003
229 pages

Reviewed by Thomas Paul, October 2003
  (9 of 10)


JSTL provides a set of common tag libraries for JSP programmers. This book explains the JSTL and it does it extremely well. In about 200 pages, the book covers what the JSTL is, what to use it for, how to use it, and gives plenty of examples.

The start of the book covers the basics of tag libraries and explains why we need JSTL. Next, the basics of JSTL and the expression language are covered. The one small flaw in the book is that the expression language could have been covered in a bit more detail. The rest of the book covers each of the tags (actions) broken up into the separate libraries. The core, XML, internationalization and formatting, and SQL actions are each given their own chapters. The author doesn't just cover the tags but also provides enough background information to insure that you can understand how the tags are used. For example, in the XML chapter, the author starts by explaining the different technologies around XML and then shows how the XML actions can be used to simplify the task of using XML in your JSPs. The SQL chapter explains why you would never want to use the SQL actions before she discusses the actions themselves. The book ends with a "quick reference" section.

Sue Spielman has a very easy writing style that makes reading her books a pleasure. Her book is short and complete, a very difficult combination to pull off.

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Morgan Kaufmann
1 edition
August 2003
229 pages

Reviewed by Matthew Phillips, September 2003
  (9 of 10)


This might be one of the most effective IT book I have ever read. It's short but comprehensive. All four libraries are covered and covered quite well.

The first few chapters provide an introduction to JSTL, including the reasons and a few brief examples. The chapter on the EL seemed to be the weakest chapter, but it was detailed enough to get a solid start with using it.

Each library has a pretty good sized chapter with coverage of all of the tags and their most common attributes. The code samples covered what you are most likely to do with the tags, although I would have like to see some uncommon uses as well.

The only negative was the sample code that I downloaded from the site. Although the book states that it was tested with Tomcat 4.1.20 and Tomcat 5.0. In both cases, I had problems with Tomcat validating the web.xml file. A few simple changes and the code was up and running, though.

Overall, this book provides a quick source of information for learning JSTL.

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JavaServer Pages
by Larne Pekowsky


Addison-Wesley Professional
second edition
August 2003
368 pages

Reviewed by Thomas Paul, November 2003
  (7 of 10)


This book is geared for web site designers with no Java experience who are interested in understanding how to incorporate JSP into their web site. Although the book concentrates on incorporating JSPs into a web site it also includes enough information to allow the non-programmer to do some basic programming.

The first half of the book is a basic overview of JSP with a concentration on using JavaBeans, JSTL, and the expression language. Anyone who is familiar with ASP or ColdFusion will find this section easy to follow. Each chapter has examples that help to make the information easier to understand. The second half of the book starts with a brief introduction to the Java programming language. The book then shows how to write your own JavaBeans. Servlets are discussed along with explaining what an MVC architecture is using Struts as an example. The second half ends by showing how to develop your own tag libraries.

The author has done a good job of explaining the basics of using JSPs but then he tries to cast too wide a net. Each of the topics is covered too lightly and will tend to leave the inexperienced reader a bit lost. If you are a web designer and need to understand how to incorporate Java into your site then this book will be very helpful. Read the first part of the book in detail and just catch the major themes of the second half and you will be in good shape.

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Core JSTL: Mastering the JSP Standard Tag Library
by David Geary


Prentice Hall PTR
1 edition
December 2002
608 pages

Reviewed by Thomas Paul, February 2003
  (8 of 10)


The JSP Standard Tag Library is designed to simplify many of the difficult tasks encountered while creating JSPs. This book covers the new built-in tags and the expression language which are part of JSTL. The book describes itself as a "definitive" guide and that fairly well sums it up. JSTL is covered in excellent detail with lots of examples and sample code. The book is divided into three parts. The first part introduces JSTL and discusses the JSTL expression language. Examples of proper usage as well as common errors are shown. The next part covers the tags themselves (referred to as actions). This part is split over several chapters including chapters on conditional actions, iteration actions, i18n actions, database actions, and XML actions. Each action is covered in detail with at least one example of its usage. The final section is a short reference covering all the actions. Overall, I found this book to be very well written guide to JSTL. I think most Servlet/JSP developers will find this to be an excellent resource for learning JSTL. There were a couple of places in the book that I found the author's explanations a little confusing but overall he does an excellent job of helping to understand how to properly use JSTL. You should note that there is a misprint in the book that gives an incorrect URL for the site to download the source code. The correct site is: http://www.core-jstl.com.

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Programming Jakarta Struts
by Chuck Cavaness


O'Reilly
1 edition
November 2002
462 pages

Reviewed by Thomas Paul, February 2003
  (7 of 10)


The target for the book is any experienced Java developer who is interested in Struts but has little or no experience with Struts. The book starts with an explanation of why Struts is a "good thing" and shows how Struts fits into a web architecture. The author then gives an explanation of each of the pieces of the Struts architecture and demonstrates a simple application. Although the explanations were clear, I felt that the author was making the architecture overly complicated by explaining things out of order. A diagram showing the interrelationships of the different Struts classes and config files would have been helpful. The author covers all the expected topics such as internationalization, exception handling, logging, and the Struts tag libraries. The chapter on the Struts tag libraries could have used more examples to make the explanations clearer. The book concentrates on Struts 1.1 and the author does a nice job of explaining the changes from the 1.0 version and the features available in the new version. The chapter on the new Validator framework is clear and the examples are on target. The chapter on Tiles is short but the author does a great job of explaining how it fits into the Struts architecture. The chapter on performance seemed completely unnecessary since there was nothing in it specific to Struts. Overall this book is a good addition to the Struts library. The book has some shortcomings but it provides a good deal of value.

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Struts In Action
by Ted Husted, Cedric Dumoulin, George Franciscus, and David Winterfeldt


Manning Publications
1 edition
November 2002
630 pages

Reviewed by Matthew Phillips, November 2002
  (8 of 10)


Although the title of this book is not descriptive, I cannot deny the author's approach to making the reader a Struts expert is effective.

Section 1 is an introduction to Struts. By the end of the section you have written your first Struts application. This is great for someone with no prior knowlege of Struts.

Section 2 delves into the details of Struts framework. It gets away from a hands on approach to explain the details. It covers Actions, ActionForms, etc. quite well. The sample code accompanying the explanations is not enough to run, but it did help me understand the topics better.

Section 3 continues the same approach to learning as section 2 but concentrates on the presentation layer tools. One of my complaints about this book relates to its coverage of the Struts tag libraries. The chapter is clearly intended to compliment the online documentation at the Struts website and it really doesn't provide much value over it. The coverage of Tiles, validation, and localization are excellent.

Section 4 gets back to the hands on approach to effectively tie everything together. The book's organization lends itself to being a great reference, but I would have liked it to take a more hands on approach and build a large application piece by piece. I still learned more about Struts than I knew existed. I would not hesitate recommending this book to anyone that wants to go from Struts beginner to Struts expert.

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Professional Apache Tomcat
by Vivek Chopra, Ben Galbraith, Sing Li, Chanoch Wiggers, Amit Bakore, Debashish Bhattacharjee, Sandip Bhattacharya, Chad Fowler, Romin Irani


Wrox
unknown edition
October 2002
552 pages

Reviewed by Michael Ernest, February 2003
  (9 of 10)


This book is a solid, well-rounded guide to using Apache Tomcat and getting the most out of it. The authors cover a wide number of topics, including installation, modification, managing services, and even testing applications for server load. I was particularly pleased with the clean language and style of the book, something I had noted before in Sing Li's Wrox book on Jini. Li is a contributing author here as well.

The only objection I have really isn't a fault of the book at all, but it nonetheless hampers my ability to read it carefully. So much work is done these days to convert configuration and property files into XML formats, that books like this one are often forced to explain features by showing example XML files and encouraging the reader to parse it visually. Sweet mama, that's boring; fortunately, the authors keep this aspect to a minimum.

I recommend it to anyone who needs a desktop reference for learning all the aspects of Apache Tomcat as they need them.

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The Struts Framework: Practical Guide for Programmers
by Sue Spielman


Morgan Kaufmann
1 edition
October 2002
150 pages

Reviewed by Jessica Sant, May 2003
  (7 of 10)


I found this book's introduction to Struts to be inadequate. I have a very strong understanding of JSP and Servlets and a cursory understanding of the MVC design pattern. After reading the first two chapters I was quite confused about the general workings of Struts. A small, trivial Struts application to introduce the reader to the pieces and how they are inter-related would have increased the understandability ten-fold. However, that might have cut into the author's allowed page count: realize this book is 137 pages soaking wet (including the appendix and index... I don't recommend actually soaking the book). After getting a better understanding of Struts from another source, I came back to learn the details.

The author does an good job of explaining how best to use each part of the Struts Framework (that's where the "practical guide" part comes into play). More importantly she notes the possible hang-ups that normally you'd only learn through a bad experience (Don't use instance variables in your Action classes. Don't worry if you forget this rule now -- after you've read the book, this and other gotchas are tattooed inside your head).

Overall I'd say this is a very good resource. You'll need to go elsewhere to introduce yourself to Struts (find a nicely explained step-by-step tutorial), but after that, this book will be able to take you most of the way to a well-designed Struts implementation.

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Mastering Jakarta Struts
by James Goodwill


Wiley
1 edition
September 2002
360 pages

Reviewed by Paul Stevens, September 2002
  (8 of 10)


This book takes a good step by step approach to giving the reader an understanding of struts. Good examples and explanations of each topic covered fairly well. Don't let the title (Mastering Jakarta Struts) deceive you. The book says it is meant as a tutorial on Stuts and that is what it is. So if you already have an understanding of Struts this book won't be right. But if you are looking to get familiar with Struts this book is a good starter.

I would like to give the author James Goodwill a big thumbs up. The source code for the book was not on the Wiley site and James emailed it to me right away.

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JSTL in Action
by Shawn Bayern


Manning Publications
1 edition
July 2002
480 pages

Reviewed by Margarita Isayeva, August 2002
  (9 of 10)


A nicely written book about JSTL (JSP Standard Tag Library). Its expected audience consists of HTML and JSP developers who can be unfamiliar with Java, as well as experienced Java programmers.

A reader without programming experience will probably benefit most. The book is beginner-friendly on all levels of organization. Terminology is relaxed without being sloppy: correspondence to both formal lexicon and "field jargon" is given. Every important word and concept is explained, often with vivid (or bizarre, depending on your taste) metaphors. It will be long time before I forget author's definition of "scope" that compared it to flying rats...

The words "in action" in the book's title aren't just words, it is a methodological principle. The discussion concentrates on practice rather than theory and specifications; each JSTL tag comes with examples - from "elementary" tasks - how to set encoding or print numbers in assorted formats, to parsing XML and performing SQL queries. There are more complex projects, like writing an online survey, message board and a simple web portal from scratch - toys that look so real and their code so simple that you want to try it out.

The last part is targeted at Java programmers and deals with issues like performance improving, configuration, and developing custom tags - JSTL supports even this!

And if all this is not enough, then you should know: there are jokes scattered throughout the book, so you do not want to skip pages for not to miss one!

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Java for the Web with Servlets, JSP, and EJB
by Budi Kurniawan


Sams
unknown edition
April 2002
992 pages

Reviewed by Carl Trusiak, June 2002
  (3 of 10)


This book can be used to learn all the basics of Servlets, JSP's and EJB's. It provides great coverage of all the basics. From that point on it fails! Anyone creating a system using most of the methodologies shown in this book will be disappointed. It constantly demonstrates the things not to do. Especially in respect to DataBase connections. A mention is made on one page of DB Pools and JNDI DataSource then, every example has connections made in a haphazard fashion. JSP TagLibs are introduced and immediately follow by JSP Examples filled with scripting, including making connections to a database. In the DBBean example, the only thing preventing serious concurrency problems with the connection is the fact that the bean is placed in page scope. This causes the connection to be recreated with each page request. When EJB's where introduced, I felt sure the author would use a JNDI DataSource, instead JNDI is used to lookup the Database information (such as the URL) and make individual connections. No attempt is made to demonstrate most of the performance enhancing patterns that can be used with EJB's. Not a book to help learn to Build Scalable Systems!

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Professional JSP Tag Libraries
by Simon Brown


Peer Information
1 edition
April 2002
500 pages

Reviewed by John Wetherbie, September 2002
  (8 of 10)


This book is a great introduction and tutorial on writing JSP custom tags. It takes a step-by-step and very detailed approach to the subject and has lots of example code. Chapters build on the information presented in previous chapters, so this is one of those books you really do want to read from start to finish. I think you'll want to do this anyway...

The book can be divided, like Gaul, into three parts. The first part (Chapters 1-7) takes the reader from constructing simple tags through Body Tags and finally to tags that cooperate with other tags to perform a task. The second section (Chapters 8-10) discusses the situations that custom tags should be used for and provides examples, design approaches for tags and tag libraries, and how to validate and deploy your tags. The chapter on validation addresses validation in the tag handler itself, in a TagExtraInfo class, and the use of the TagLibraryValidator class to validate pages that import a tag library. The last two chapters present a case study and brief overviews of Struts tags, Jakarta Taglibs, and the Java Standard Tag Library (JSTL).

The book focuses on tag capabilities in JSP 1.2 but you can use most of what is presented in JSP 1.1. In fact, the chapter on Body Tags re-visits an iteration example from a previous chapter to demonstrate how tags that iterate over a collection can be developed in JSP 1.1.

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Java Servlets Developer's Guide
by Karl Moss


McGraw-Hill
second edition
February 2002
588 pages

Reviewed by Paul Stevens, April 2002
  (9 of 10)


I started this book with a very basic understanding of Servlets. A good book increases your knowledge of a subject without boring you to tears. This book does that. The book has many examples with very good explanations of not only the code but why the code was even written. It is easy to read and understand. It covers from setting up the server configuration to wireless and WML. The book's format is well designed starting at the very basics and moving through the more advanced topics. If you want to increase your knowledge (or start) of Servlets, I feel this is the book to read.

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McGraw-Hill
second edition
February 2002
588 pages

Reviewed by Arthur Chan, October 2002
  (8 of 10)


Full of insights and practical examples for those who persevere. Occasionally , the book is incomplete, perhaps with the expectation that the reader "ought to know" by now. One such example is Chapter 10 "Applet-to-Servlet Coomunication ", where one is left wondering how to extend "BaseTunnelClient". More please, Mr Moss !

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Mastering JSP Custom Tags and Tag Libraries
by James Goodwill


Wiley
1 edition
February 2002
432 pages

Reviewed by Junilu Lacar, September 2002
  (6 of 10)


Despite its title, only five (out of twenty-eight) chapters of this book actually discuss the details of writing custom JSP tag libraries. The first four chapters go over setting up Tomcat 4.0 and the basics of servlets and JSPs. The remaining chapters are really more of a desktop reference covering the Jakarta Taglibs project and the JSP Standard Tag Library (JSTL) using the "In a Nutshell" format. There are numerous examples but most are short and very similar to those you'll find in the online documentation. Since Taglibs and JSTL are constantly evolving, the reference material will quickly become outdated--some of it already is.
The discussion on writing custom tag libraries is fairly comprehensive but I didn't care for the organization of the topics. I prefer a "cookbook" type approach when learning these things but the book had me jumping from one section to another, skipping ahead to find details and then backtracking to the examples. There are also a number of typos and errors in the text that might confuse the unwary novice. One example instructs you to put a JAR and its TLD in the WEB-INF/lib directory whereas the web.xml specifies "WEB-INF" which makes Tomcat unable to start the web application. This had me cursing Tomcat for a while until a colleague suggested I look in the log files.
If you prefer "Nutshell"-type books to online references, you might find this book useful for a while.

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Professional Java Servlets 2.3
by John Bell, Tony Loton, et. al.


Peer Information
1 edition
January 2002
700 pages

Reviewed by Johannes de Jong, May 2002
  (7 of 10)


When I sat down to write this review I knew how a teacher must feel when he had to give a star student a bad score.

This book has all the information you need to write the perfect application that is scalable, secure, maintainable and perfectly debugged based on the Java Servlet 2.3 API. The authors obviously know their stuff and they individually share their knowledge clearly and understandable with the reader. Individually however, is exactly where my problem lies with this book. The book would have worked so much better for me if it had a golden thread running trough it, if a sample application was described in the beginning of the book for instance and the authors each contributed to one final perfect solution.

To be able to try all the example code one has to download megabytes of stuff from the internet. What bugged me most about that was that URL's for downloading were scattered all over the book. I for one download and install all the required stuff before I attack a book. Please Wrox, a separate Appendix.

Talking about Appendices, Appendix B (HTTP Reference) and Appendix C (Servlets API Reference) are great!

This book deserves a better score, it provides me with all the info I need, but I am afraid the way it is told as a whole stops me from obtaining the in-dept understanding of Servlets I was hoping to find through this book.

Still worth buying though.

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Early Adopter JSP Standard Tag Library
by Jayson Falkner, James Hart, Richard Huss, Cindy Nordahl


Peer Information
1 edition
January 2002
250 pages

Reviewed by Ersin Eser, February 2002
  (7 of 10)


The JSTL is currently in its Early Access stage (JSR-052), and it is aiming for a common, standard set of custom tag libraries such as Core Library (iteration, conditional, processing, and expression language support: SPEL, ECMAScript, JPath, JXPath), Formatting Library (support for I18N, local formatting and parsing), SQL Library (for database access from JSP), and XML Processing (tags for parsing and XSL transformation of XML documents), all of which are covered by this book.
So far, this is the only book available for this new, exciting topic. If you are interested in JSTL (you should be if you are a web application developer), this book will give you a great opportunity to get a practical overview of the topic. You don't have to wait a few more months to start exploring and using the JSTL. Of course, the book does not provide all the nitty-gritty stuff, but it will definitely help you to understand the topic by showing the usage of the tags thru a web application.The book does not include an index. The book assumes that you have a working knowledge of JSP.

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More Servlets and JSP
by Marty Hall


Pearson Education
1 edition
December 2001
752 pages

Reviewed by Madhav Lakkapragada, February 2002
  (9 of 10)


The book takes a very practical approach to teaching Servlets and JSP. It is a follow-up of the earlier book "Core Servlets and JSP" and the explanation follows a very similar pattern. This book deals with Servlet 2.3 and JSP 1.2 Specifications, though. Well, except for the introduction to JSP, some portion of which uses the 1.1 Specification - I felt that this was redundant. I mean, why introduce a topic in 1.1 Specification when you claim the book to be following 1.2 Specification. However, the author later explains the differences in a whole new chapter by itself with examples following the 1.2 Specification.

The source code is available online and the text book gives a good explanation of the relevant topics. This book also deals with web-applications including detailed chapters on deployment, security and filters. The author takes the pain of explaining where each file goes using three different servers. I would say that this is the highlight of the book.

If you already have the "Core Servlets and JSP", I doubt this book would add too much value except for the newer topics. If you don't have that book then I would recommend this book.

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J2EE FrontEnd Technologies: A Programmer's Guide to Servlets, JavaServer Pages, and Enterprise JavaBeans
by Lennart Jorelid


Apress
1 edition
December 2001
1128 pages

Reviewed by Thomas Paul, February 2002
  (6 of 10)


"J2EE FrontEnd Technologies" refers to itself as a "programmer's guide" and that is probably the best description of it. While it also claims to be "chock full of code examples" and contains "what you need to know," it falls short in both these areas. What you will find is a fairly detailed and yet limited explanation of the three major J2EE technologies, Servlets, JSPs, and EJBs. Although you will find extensive information for these three areas, there are many details left out and there is little attempt made to tie the three pieces together. For example, you will not find any examples of linking servlets and JSPs other than by using the Struts framework. You will also find no more than a brief mention of message driven EJBs. There are numerous UML diagrams throughout the book but in many cases they add little beyond what you can get from looking at the APIs. The examples in the book tend to be overly simplistic, in some cases wasting many pages to show an example that could have been summarized in a few lines of code. The best section of the book is the section on EJBs. The author's detailed description of EJB deployment descriptors is better than what you will find in most EJB books. This section also features the most complete examples found in the book. Overall this book does contain value, although it fails as an introduction or tutorial on the technologies that it covers.

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Professional JSP Site Design, Coding Core Web Applications
by Kevin Duffey, et al


Wrox
1 edition
November 2001
1000 pages

Reviewed by Ersin Eser, February 2002
  (9 of 10)


The book talks about Jakarta Struts, caching issues, coping with frames, navigation tips, security, search engines, and other very practical topics. This is a great book for the intermediate-level Java Web Application Developer (JWAD). If you are looking for a chance to get your hands dirty with the practical aspects of the topic, and get an understanding of the real-life problems, then the vast amount of the info and resources given in this book will definitely quench your thirst. Introductions to Jakarta Struts, Lucene, and Apache JetSpeed are great.

If you are an experienced JWAD or have read other related titles from Wrox's Professional books, you might want to take a peek at this book before buying it (or just buy the book to redirect the possible headache assets to it). Here are the downsides: chapters don't support each other (info given previously is not being used in the following chapters), and you might have a really hard time getting the downloaded code to work (too many different files are needed, too many set-ups, and why don't they provide ready-to-go *.war files?)

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Web Development with JavaServer Pages
by Duane K. Fields, Mark A. Kolb, Shawn Bayern, Duane K. Fields and Mark A. Kolb


Manning Publications
second edition
September 2001
800 pages

Reviewed by Sean MacLean, August 2002
  (8 of 10)


Having 'field tested' the first edition of "Web Development with Java Server Pages" on several projects, I was anxious to see what the authors had in store with this second edition. I have to say that it was worth the wait, though some new additions or lack there of, did give me pause. Foremost, it should be noted that the original material remains intact and, based on this alone, the second edition gets same hearty recommendation as before. However, a more basic introduction has been added which, for me, changed the tone of the initial chapters completely. Understandably, though, it does provide a "more gentle" introduction for those new to the topic. As well, with so many similarities between some of the books' architectures (see chapter 10) and several popular presentation frameworks (i.e. Struts), I was struck with the sense that these should have been introduced as well. Most significantly, the book updates the discussion to include JSP 1.2 and Servlets 2.3 throughout and includes chapters covering Filters and Listeners. The discussion of filters alone garners this edition an extra horseshoe with its excellent coverage of this topic (personally, I feel that filters add potential for component re-use and abstraction that has not existed in J2EE applications to date). Finally, the addition of a chapter on "non-html" content, though brief, is welcome for its coverage of XML, Excel spreadsheets and code generation.

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Manning Publications
1 edition
May 2000
554 pages

Reviewed by Sean MacLean, August 2001
  (7 of 10)


Working as a Java programmer for large distributed systems, I anxiously awaited the opportunity to read the Fields and Kolb's "Web development with Java Server Pages" and I was certainly not disappointed. Assuming a firm grounding in both basic HTML and Java skills (since, thankfully, "intro to..." chapters are not included), the book maintains a concise focus on presenting JSP technology to both presentation-layer developers and server-side programmers.

This is not a book littered with examples in the early going (plenty in the latter chapters, though), but rather it focuses on discussions of the 'how and why' for many aspects of the technology. An added bonus is the underlying current of JSP as an aide to the development process itself through structural and logical separation (particularly the inspiring discussions in the opening chapters).

One complaint I have is that there is not accompanying CD containing the source for the examples. Though it is available on-line, there is some to be said for the immediacy and permanence of having it on disc.

All in all, this offering from Fields and Kolb serves very well as introduction to web development using JSP for both experienced professionals and beginners alike.

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Enterprise Java Servlets
by Jeff M.Genender


Pearson Education
unknown edition
September 2001
464 pages

Reviewed by Ersin Eser, November 2001
  (8 of 10)


The book is about single-dispatch-Servlet architecture in which the author's primary goal is to encapsulate and protect its own resources from outside applications and write easy to maintain and extendable applications. The book needs to be read from beginning to the end. Randomly reading a chapter will not be useful. It is a really good resource for intermediate level Java Servlet programmers. Advanced programmers might find it lite. It is not for the beginners. Prepare yourself to read lots of code. The chapters related to error logging is very useful by addressing how to create manageable and readable error logs.

Pooling concepts are very practical by addressing how to create pools; managing pool's resources before checking them in and/or out from the pool; how to centralize its control so developers don't have to worry about it over and over again.

LDAP is an excellent intro.

JSP is about how to integrate JSP into his design.

His design might not be the right or the best way, but the ideas and solutions in this book certainly teaches a lot and will improve design. And if you happen to like his architecture you will have all of his code; just add whatever you want to and tweak it: You will be up and running in a very short time. The author currently does not have a supporting web site. The cd-rom does not come with a make file. He does not provide UML documentation.

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Beginning JSP Web Development
by Jayson Falkner (Editor), John Timney, Casey Kochmer, Romin Irani, Perrumal Krishnaraj, Meeraj Moidoo Kunnumpurath, Sathya Narayana Panduranga, Ben Galbraith


Wrox
1 edition
August 2001
831 pages

Reviewed by Valentin Crettaz, December 2001
  (9 of 10)


The goal of this book is to wake up the web developer sleeping in you. A prerequisite is a basic understanding of static HTML. No programming experience is required though, yet advised. The book starts from scratch. About a third of it spends time introducing Java (language basics, OO, utility classes, exception handling, etc) and SQL. The book also focuses on how to best structure a web application and how the latter's components (JSP, Servlets and beans) work and collaborate behind the scenes.

A good part is dedicated to showing how to access files, query databases and send electronic mails from web applications. One chapter introduces, in detail, Apache's Struts framework. Finally, a complete web application is designed and implemented from scratch using Struts and all techniques presented in the book.

Basically, the book is well-organized and provides lots of well-commented code examples.

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XML, XSLT, Java, and JSP: A Case Study in Developing a Web Application
by Westy Rockwell


New Riders
unknown edition
July 2001
768 pages

Reviewed by Thomas Paul, September 2001
  (2 of 10)


There are some books that are published that you wonder why the publisher went through the exercise. New Riders should have rejected this manuscript. It claims to be a case study of XML, XSLT, and JSP but it isn't. It is a confused and confusing discussion of the author playing around with technology.

The author wanted to try out some ideas so he decided to write a chat program. But there is no real design effort (you won't find a single UML diagram anywhere) so it is difficult to understand precisely what the application is supposed to look like. Without any real design, the application ends up with one servlet of over 50 pages and another of over 40 pages in length. (The book is inflated with 300 pages of source listings that are unreadable.) As a case study in how to do bad design and write awful code, the book can serve as a warning perhaps. As far as actually trying to explain any of this technology, the author admits that isn't the purpose of the book. In a case study you like to hear of problems encountered or the different solutions attempted but you won't. No mention is made of security or performance. The code itself is useless and can't be used in other applications because it is so poorly designed. The author admits that huge chunks of code need to be refactored.

Overall this book fails to provide any real value.

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Developing Java Servlets
by James Goodwill


Sams
second edition
May 2001
624 pages

Reviewed by John Ternlund, September 2001
  (7 of 10)


If you are in a position where you need to do development involving Java Servlets, (as many web developers these days are now finding themselves in), "Developing Java Servlets Second Edition" by James Goodwill is a book you may consider looking at. For those that are interested in just learning more about server-side Java programming (with focus on developing Java Servlets), consider looking at and possibly adding this text to your collection.

The material is aimed at individuals who are already comfortable developing in Java, but want more information or examples on server-side Java programming. For individuals new to Java Servlets, the book does have a nice overview of Servlets as well as good information presented on Servlet Architecture. Servlet basics are presented as are some examples. Good example code is a key contributing factor to making any book focused on software development useful. This book provides a significant amount of example code, but unfortunately, lacks a CD-ROM. Although a little tricky to find, the source code to the examples is available on-line.

This book attempts to cover a little too much information but does succeed in providing some good reading centered around Servlets on sessions, tunneling, security, and LDAP. It also contains material which may be new to this edition on JavaMail, XML, JSP, EJB, and wireless Servlets with WML/WMLScripts. Overall a useful book to read if you are interested in Java Servlet development with code examples or just an overview of server-side Java programming.

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Sams
second edition
May 2001
624 pages

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


Again, good marks on Amazon and I've read only the first two chapters A second edition is now available.

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JSP Tag Libraries
by Gal Shachor, Adam Chace, Magnus Rydin


Manning Publications
1 edition
May 2001
656 pages

Reviewed by Carl Trusiak, June 2001
  (9 of 10)


A book dedicated strictly to the development of Tag Libraries. You might think that would be a bit much. No way! The Authors cover every aspect of developing and using JSP Tags. All the examples are annotated in detail. You quickly learn every detail you need to start developing sophisticated professional Tags. No stone is left unturned. It covers Tags for JSP 1.1 and JSP 1.2. There are examples for Iteration, decision, JDBC, EJB, JavaMail, WAP etc. A fully functional version of the JDBC-driven WebStore and EJB-driven WAPStore are available for download along with all the books examples. The book is extremely well written and edited. I was hard put to find 2 minor errors. Every person or organization developing JSP's should definitely get copies of this book!

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Advanced Java Server Pages
by David M. Geary


Prentice Hall PTR
1 edition
May 2001
512 pages

Reviewed by Thomas Paul, October 2001
  (9 of 10)


The basics of JSP are easy to learn for anyone familiar with HTML and Java but it is difficult to learn the many advanced features. This book covers the complexities of JSP very well and helps to make them simple and easy to understand.

The book starts with coverage of JSP custom tags, one of the most important features of JSP. HTML forms and JSP templates are covered next. The section on templates is extremely useful for those who wish to use pluggable components to build web sites. The best part of the book for me were the middle chapters which cover designing a Model 2 framework using servlets and JSP. The framework is generic and can be applied to any web site development effort. He then demonstrates how event handling can be used within the framework to provide internationalization, authentication, and form resubmission trapping. (Have your users ever created additional profiles by using the back button?) The next chapter demonstrates using custom tags to access databases. The author then shows different ways to process XML with JSP. The final chapter is a case study demonstrating all the techniques used throughout the book.

Code samples are found throughout the book and I had no trouble getting any of them to run in Tomcat. The tag libraries are provided as open source by the author and will be helpful for most developers. The book is very well written and will be useful for anyone interested in advancing their knowledge of JSP.

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Inside Servlets: Server-Side Programming for the Java
by Dustin R. Callaway


Addison-Wesley Professional
second edition
May 2001
912 pages

Reviewed by Ajith Kallambella, June 2001
  (7 of 10)


A great book for novice web developers, Inside Servlets( 2nd Edition ) is a well written Servlet development guide. As the publisher's web site says, it is an excellent resource for "programmers and consultants who desire to learn Web development fundamentals in addition to server-side Java programming. Much of this audience likely consists of current client/server programmers." The chapters are categorized into three major sections - Introduction to Web development, Introduction to Servlets and Advanced Servlet concepts. There is a great deal of academic material in the introductory chapters - pages of information about HTML, Brief History of the Web, Web Servers, Web browsers, Networking, Ports, Sockets, Firewalls etc that may be too much of a digression for a not-so-newbie programmer. The very first Servlet program appears only after Chapter 4. I found the fat appendix containing Servlet API documentation - one that is freely available on the web - completely unnecessary. The section on Advanced Servlet Concepts completely ignores to mention latest developments in Servlet technology - integration with XML and Servlet based frameworks such as ECS and Cocoon. Overall, it is a book for beginners, not for professional Servlet developers.

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Java Servlet Programming
by Jason Hunter, William Crawford, Jason Hunter


O'Reilly
second edition
April 2001
780 pages

Reviewed by Ajith Kallambella, June 2001
  (10 of 10)


The book is a Revised Version of the first edition rewritten to cover the latest Servlet API specification 2.2 as well as to introduce the major changes in the upcoming 2.3 draft spec. The book begins with chapters covering the history of Servlets and a quick introduction to Web applications/HTTP that offers an insight into the world of Servlets for newbies. The following chapters quickly delve into core topics such as Servlet lifecycle, session tracking techniques, using JSPs with Servlets (there is a lot of emphasis on this in the book), Applet to Servlet communication and Servlet chaining and collaboration. Brief notes are scattered throughout the book that talks about changes in the 2.2 spec pertaining to specific contexts. The book includes several supplementary chapters that focus on leveraging technologies such as JDBC, WAP/WML, SSL J2EE and Internationalization. These quick tutorials blend very well with the overall premise of the book and help paint a holistic picture of a typical Servlet application. I found the J2EE refresher and the section on Taglibs very informative and so much better than what many web sites have to offer. The concluding chapters cover Servlets in action - many alternative Servlet frameworks such as Element Construction Set (ECS), XMLC, Tea, and WebMacro/Velocity that stand as evidence to the popularity and applicability of this great technology. This is a must-have book. The exactitude, clarity and comprehensiveness makes it a worthy addition to any Java developer's bookshelf.

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O'Reilly
1 edition
April 2001
780 pages

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


This book is probably the most popular servlet book right now. It's an above average book. And has some useful information. I felt many of the examples could have been simpler. Some of the text too. Some of the examples and text had some outdated info. Overall, I would say that this is a five steps forward, one step back kind of book. Second Edition is now out!

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JSP, Servlets, and MySQL
by David Harms


Wiley
1 edition
April 2001
500 pages

Reviewed by Valentin Crettaz, January 2002
  (9 of 10)


This book will help you get your Java Servlets, JSPs and MySQL databases to work together and provide a full-fledged dynamic database-driven web site. The author, David Harms, masters at presenting the concepts clearly. Server-side Java components --JSP, Servlets and JavaBeans-- are briefly introduced. Then, the author explains what relational databases are and why the latter are so important when designing dynamic web sites. He also goes into the details of installing, configuring and running the MySQL server and client as well as how to properly design a database.

The Model-View-Controller (Model 2) design pattern is introduced in a way that definitely shows how each of its component areas perfectly map to server-side Java components and databases, that is Java servlets take the role of the Controller, JSP and custom tags the role of the View and JavaBeans and the database the role of the Model. Such decomposition makes any application very flexible and easily maintainable.

The final part is dedicated to some strategies one can use to make benefit of its database, like how to authenticate users, survey them, collect server statistics and so on. The Struts application framework which already implements perfectly the MVC design pattern is also briefly introduced.

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Java Developers Guide to E-Commerce with XML and JSP
by Bill Brogden and Chris Minnick


Sybex
unknown edition
January 2001
512 pages

Reviewed by Frank Carver, June 2001
  (8 of 10)


This book is unrelentingly practical. This is both its main advantage and its biggest drawback.
The book describes, in great detail, how to build and set up an XML-driven e-commerce web site using a single case study. Each of the concepts covered (XML, DTD, Catalog, Shopping Cart, Look and Feel, Surveys, Payment Processing, News feeds etc.) gets a few pages of introduction and a chapter of annotated code. The advantage of this approach is that the reader is never left with hanging questions about just how to implement something - every bracket and semicolon is there.
The disadvantage is that hardly any coverage is given to alternative approaches. EJB and XSLT get a few pages, HTML templating gets just one line! The code examples are solid, but seem a little "old fashioned"; there's no use of the Collections API, JDOM or XSLT, for example. Don't let any of this discourage you though - consider these points as options for further study. The code is all on the supplied CD, and you are free to tinker with it.
If you are a programmer and unsure what all the e-commerce handwaving really means, or you need to produce a basic e-commerce system in a hurry, you need this book.

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JSP : Complete Reference
by Phil Hanna


McGraw-Hill
1 edition
January 2001
876 pages

Reviewed by Bill Bozeman, June 2001
  (9 of 10)


Review : When reading a tech book, I like to look at 4 things.
1. The organization of the book.
2. The explanations
3. The code
4. The quality of the content
Let me just tell you right up front that JSP, the Complete Reference gets very high marks in all four categories. It was organized better than any JSP book I have read, and better than most technical books. The author, Phil Hanna, presents you with a case study that he builds throughout the book.
I generally like this approach but the whole message can get lost if the book is not well organized. That is not the care here.
Mr. Hanna's explanation of each topic are excellent and he includes great code examples to back them up. When I was first learning Java I had to use two books: one with easy to follow explanations of items, Thinking In Java by Bruce Eckel, and one with great code examples, Beginning Java 2 by Ivor Horton. It is nice to find a book with both.
Finally, the content. I always try to buy books that I will use over and over and that will become my reference. Well that is definitely the case here. Mr. Hanna covers all the aspects of JSP, tag libraries, JSP and XML, JSP and JDBC, Servlets, and some setup basics i.e. the web.xml file.
This is the 3rd book I have read on JSP and it is by far the best.

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Java Server Pages Application Development
by Scott M. Stirling, Andre Lei, Ben Forta, Edwin Smith, Larry Kim, Roger Kerr, David Aden


Sams
unknown edition
November 2000
500 pages

Reviewed by Tony Alicea, March 2001
  (8 of 10)


One way to start a review of this book is by saying that the contents of the CD-ROM are very interesting.
But more on that later...
The back cover reads "Category: Development" and "User Level: Professional". In this context then, I think this is indeed a very good book. Also, at the time of this writing it is one of the most recent books on JSP 1.1 (there is a misprint right there on the cover of my copy that reads "JSP 1.2" but that's a typo). Sure there's a JSP 1.2 draft but it is not covered in the book.
The book is about 400 pages long (not too short, not to long IMHO) and it is obviously written by experts. I even like the succinct explanations of the Internet and how it is NOT synonym with the World Wide Web (WWW): Not only are they not the same thing, but the Internet is older than the WWW.
Also, Web browsers and Web servers are quickly described while explaining the differences between a Web Server and an Application Server.
But the meat of the book is of course, JSPs. Here the authors sometimes give (in my opinion) more information (and that is good for me) than is required for (for example) HTML programmers that want to learn JSP.
JSP in my view, could be a "super HTML" type of markup language, if you use JSP custom tags all the way. So, I don't see what place the concept of Java Reflection may occupy in a book like this. Also, I think there's no need to get "Under the Hood" as early as on page 20, where a compiled-to-servlet-JSP is presented as it looks after three different JSP engines went through it.
During the time that I was reading this book, one day I got back from lunch and there was an ASP/VB programmer looking at the book. She's not very familiar with Java tech yet, but she had read that Java was supposed to be WORA ("Write Once Run Anywhere").
She then proceeded to ask me "I thought this book was about JSPs. Why does it have Java code called Servlets so early in the book, but more importantly, the code is supposed to be the same but I see three different versions of it? You mean I have to learn a different JSP (or Servlet API for that matter) for every server?"
She was confused that there were three different "sets of instructions" for JRun, Resin and Jakarta. It's OK; I cleared her doubt.
Finally, I don't see why the use and explanation of CSS is needed. Of course it's good programming practice to use CSS but if a reader is not familiar with it beforehand, she may find it more difficult.
Otherwise this is a fine book that programmers with some experience in Java and HTML should seriously consider.
Finally, the CD-ROM has everything you wanted but were afraid to ask, assuming that you're not yet committed to a development environment/application server.
It is the best-loaded CD-ROM that I have seen recently in an a book.

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Core JSP
by Damon Hougland, Aaron Tavistock


Prentice Hall PTR
unknown edition
October 2000
500 pages

Reviewed by Madhav Lakkapragada, April 2001
  (4 of 10)


I would rate this book as below average. I found a lot of typos, confusing notation and words used too loosely. Terms like Java code (why not spell it as Servlet), JSP, Server are used interchangeably. I guess the authors were minimizing the use of the word Servlet since this book is titled as Core JSP. The CD has all the code, which is a plus so you don't have to be online or download from the web or search for the URL to download. But, out of the box the code hardly works. I had to do some patching to get the examples (though small) to work with Tomcat (changes are not related to Tomcat). JSP deployment is not discussed in detail. The book does an okay job on JavaBeans, JDBC, XML and JNDI. These concepts are explained as needed, so you don't have to know these before you use this book. I did like the Custom Tags chapter; however, I don't think this book justifies the cost I would pay.

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Java Developer's Guide to Servlets and JSP
by Bill Brodgen


Sybex
unknown edition
October 2000
411 pages

Reviewed by Cindy Glass, October 2001
  (8 of 10)


There is no question that Bill Brogden has done a fine job of covering the subject matter in this book. He discusses the Servlet and JSP APIs and their uses in depth, as well as giving GREAT example code. It is packed with related topics including XML, JDBC, RMI, JNDI, LDAP, Enterprise JavaBeans etc.

This book is not aimed at beginners, but rather assumes a familiarity with Java and related technologies, and that the reader is just expanding into Servlets and JSPs. In particular it is assumed that the reader is familiar with HTML.

I did have a little problem with the organization of the book. The book starts with how Web Servers handle HTTP requests and discusses how Servlet Engines work. However at no time does he explain WHAT a servlet is, and he just assumes that you know that Servlets are handled with servlet engines. He starts right out using XML in his examples, even though the topic of XML is not introduced until chapter 6. Then, at that point he starts explaining it from step one as though you had never heard of it before. As the book progressed and became more topic by topic oriented this was no longer a problem.

My favorite part is the chapter that Paul Wheaton (of JavaRanch fame) helped write - Applet to Applet communication. OK so I am biased!

If you need to understand Servlets and JSPs in depth, this book will do the trick.

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Instant JavaServer Pages
by Paul Tremblett


McGraw-Hill
unknown edition
May 2000
550 pages

Reviewed by Thomas Paul, March 2001
  (5 of 10)


JavaServer Pages (JSP) is one of the hot, new Java technologies. For the experienced Java developer, JSP is not difficult to learn. For the inexperienced Java developer, JSP is not a good place to start. Which leads me to wonder who might be the target audience for "Instant JavaServer Pages". There are serious holes in what this book covers that will leave most developers looking for additional resources. Some examples:

* The author spends less than one page discussing taglibs, most of which is simply taken from the version 1.1 specification.
* Although using JSP with XML is prominently featured on the cover of the book, the author spends more pages discussing how to install and configure PostgreSQL to run the examples than he does on XML.
* On page 4, the author tells us that JSP can be used to generate WML but no examples of this are to be found in the book.

If this book was 200 pages long I might understand this missing material, but the author spends 500 pages explaining no more than the basics of using JSP. That being said, the book is not all bad. The author repeatedly demonstrates the proper use of JSP for creating a user interface. His many examples stress that business logic should be placed in Java Beans and those beans invoked by a JSP. The fact is, however, that although the author does well with the material covered, there is too much material left out for me to recommend this book.

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Core Servlets and JSP
by Marty Hall


Prentice Hall PTR
1 edition
May 2000
608 pages

Reviewed by Madhav Lakkapragada, April 2001
  (9 of 10)


A well written book with enough details. The author does a pretty impressive job to clearly describe everything that is required to understand the subject. All aspects of Servlets and JSP are covered at each step - right from the API till the deployment. Also, the author explains more than one deployment tool used. I like this approach very much. Most often I have seen people know about Servlets and JSP but they have trouble putting it together as an application. The approach here talks about creating your web applications and deploying them. Hence I feel this book is complete in itself. Discussion topics include Beans, Custom Tags, Forms, JDBC among other topics including some interesting Dilbert Cartoons. The only topic left out is XML, I thought, but then we know its an ocean on its own. I highly recommend this book.

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Java Servlets
by Karl Moss


McGraw-Hill
second edition
June 1999
514 pages

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


I read this book in 1998 when I was learning servlets. This is an overall good book, especially with the aspects of database stuff, multi-threading and big loads. I would probably put it in the recommended section, but it has been over a year since I looked at and I don't have it anymore. I would want to at least browse it again to give a good review. A second edition is now available.

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