REVIEW - J2EE frontend technologies - a programmer's guide to servlets, JavaServer pages, and Enterprise JavaBeans

Title:

J2EE frontend technologies - a programmer's guide to servlets, JavaServer pages, and Enterprise JavaBeans

Author:

Lennart J├Ârelid

ISBN:

1893115968

Publisher:

Apress (2002)

Pages:

1112pp

Reviewer:

Steve Dicks

Reviewed:

August 2003

Rating:

★★☆☆☆

The front cover of this book had my alarm bells ringing at the start - APress appear to have trademarks on the phrases 'The Experts Voice' and 'what you need to know'. Highly involved with

jguru.com
he may be, but the author of this 1,000 page book left me with just one question - what was the point?

This book is about the technology associated with J2EE - servlets, JSPs, EJBs et al. Having got that as a target, I suppose the book actually describes the technology quite well; although the execution of a unix command line at one point (to execute ping) when at least some of the book feels quite NT-orientated might throw off the beginner inclined to 'type in and test' the code on that platform.

My real complaint about this book is its lack of context; it describes the technology in a 'simplest program possible' approach, without really getting underneath the whole purpose to the activity. This is brought home most clearly via the chapter on Apache Struts which is only 80 pages, when 250 pages have been devoted to plain old JSPs; the author acknowledges that Struts 'starts paying off in well-constructed web applications' but can't be bothered to describe it in any detail, preferring to stay on the safe ground where he has obviously trodthe boards for several years.

Also although the book claims to be up-to-date on the various Servlet APIs, he fails to mention the subject that I personally struggle to find material on, that of creating WARs (web application archives) although the appendix devotes 13 pages of text and screenshots showing how to install one using the reference EJB implementation.

I also felt throughout the book that not enough emphasis is put on the distinction between elements that are part of the servlet specification and those that are container specific - this book is not aimed at programming neophytes and so (given the name dropping of several J2EE vendor implementations) I found it unreasonable that the author couldn't find space for re-implementing in each container where appropriate.

Maybe I expected too much from this book; but then again the author is described as an 'expert' and the front cover promises 'develop the knowledge needed to create successful enterprise applications'.

Ultimately disappointing, I wanted much more detail on the leading-edge technology (like struts) and fewer forests destroyed for the sake of tired simple servlets and JSPs.


Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.