Monday, January 14, 2013

Book Review: Java EE Development with Eclipse

Updated: 2013-01-20 Sunday 

Packt Publishing has invited me to write a review on one of their new books, Java EE Development with Eclipse:

A few first impressions on completing an initial read of the book:
  • 426 pages, with 10 chapters 
  • Instructions are clear
  • Screen shots are clear and helpful
  • Level of detail and complexity of the examples is appropriate
  • Code is available for download
  • Chapters are of an optimum length
  • The book will help someone who is already familiar with Eclipse learn more about the various Java EE development capabilities that are available within Eclipse (and supplemented by the Oracle Enterprise Pack for Eclipse - which includes integrated support for Oracle WebLogic Server 12c)
  • Eclipse 3.7 was used for developing the sample code and screen shots in the book
A few observations are worth mentioning as gentle criticisms:
  • Just reading the table of contents didn't convey a cohesive vision of why the topics were sequenced in the manner in which they were presented.  Perhaps a preliminary chapter could have outlined a simple enterprise application - and used the chapters to slowly demonstrated how various features of the application would be built with Eclipse and Java EE.
  • Using Ant as the build tool actually detracts from the clarity of the examples - by necessitating the discussion of where to download the required jar dependency files.  Perhaps the instructions perhaps could have been simplified by just relying on Maven or Gradle.
  • Chapter 4 (Creating a JSF Data Table) exposes a UI field for direct SQL command data entry -  which one hopes a novice programmer won't assume to be a standard best practice (for developing anything other than the most quick-and-dirty of hacks)
  • Whereas examples in Chapters 1 thru 7 seemed to be building examples or concepts presented in earlier chapters - Chapters 8 and 9 (JAX-WS Web Service and RESTful Web Services using the JAX-RS API) veered into the trivial HelloWorld examples.
  • Chapter 8 (Creating a JAX-WS Web Service) only addressed generating a web service based on annotation - and did not demonstrate Eclipse tooling capability to perform contract-first web service creation.

Chapter Outline

  • Chapter 1: EJB 3.0 Database Persistence
  • Chapter 2: O/X Mapping with JAXB 2.x
  • Chapter 3: Developing a Web Project for JasperReports
  • Chapter 4: Creating a JSF Data Table
  • Chapter 5: Templating with Facelets
  • Chapter 6: Creating Apache Trinidad User Interfaces
  • Chapter 7: Creating an AJAX Application
  • Chapter 8: Creating a JAX-WS Web Service
  • Chapter 9: RESTful Web Services Using the JAX-RS API
  • Chapter 10: Spring

Java EE is a large and complex topic.  Eclipse itself is a large and complex tool with a robust library of plugins.  A book such as this, in attempting to cover both - must necessarily make choices of what is included - and must maintain a stringent discipline to maintain brevity.  

This book provides a decent hand-held approach to guiding the reader through the mechanics of creating various Java EE application components.  It is not intended as an exhaustive reference, but more of a friendly guide to help you move along the trail a bit further and faster, than if you stumbled and bumbled by yourself in the dark.



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