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What is HFSJ?

shetal bansal
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 09, 2005
Posts: 63
Hi,

Can anyone tell me which book is meant by HFSJ?

And if I plan to buy just one book for preparing for the SCWCD certification, which one should it be?

Thanks in advance,

Shetal
----------
SCJP1.4(96%)
Jason Liao
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 17, 2005
Posts: 59
"Head First Servlets & JSP"
by Bryan Basham, Kathy Sierra, Bert Bates

ISBN: 0596005407


This is the bible book you need for SCWCD 1.4
Ice Penov
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 19, 2005
Posts: 70
Hi.

I have heard rumors that somewhere exist a small group of people that don't consider HFSJ as a ultimate bible book on the topic of Servlets and JSP.

However, these are just rumors. Official existence has not been confirmed to the present date. There are controversial reports and links with this group and the Brotherhood of Illuminati!

Cheers,
Ice

P.S., this is meant to be a joke and a message at the same time.


In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.
kapil munjal
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 11, 2004
Posts: 298
Basham, Seirra and Bates,

The previous message shows that your book is becoming very popular that people has started criticising it. Thats the next step towards popularity of a anything whether its a movie, some politician etc.

CONGRATS!!!


Kapil Munjal
SCJP 1.4, SCWCD 1.4
Ice Penov
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 19, 2005
Posts: 70
<< NO REPLY >>


Love you all,
Ice
chowdary Thammineedi
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 16, 2004
Posts: 126
ICE sold here!!!

$.99
Ice Penov
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 19, 2005
Posts: 70
"Read" my previous message more carefully. Repeat if necessary.

Ok, enough about this book. I am not saying anything more about this book. Who cares? I don't, I just regretted my wasted money.

Bottom line--I trashed my sample, you framed yours. Different people, different choices.
chowdary Thammineedi
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 16, 2004
Posts: 126
Originally posted by Ice Penov:
<< NO REPLY >>


Love you all,
Ice


No one's whims and/or fancies are respected here on the ranch. Only QUESTIONS. You wanna advertise a book, go to the Blatant Advertising forum.
chowdary Thammineedi
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 16, 2004
Posts: 126
Originally posted by Ice Penov:
"Read" my previous message more carefully. Repeat if necessary.

Ok, enough about this book. I am not saying anything more about this book. Who cares? I don't, I just regretted my wasted money.

Bottom line--I trashed my sample, you framed yours. Different people, different choices.


I would like to read a comprehensive answer to a genuine question regarding servlets and jsp technology. (from you)

Can the ranchers expect that in the near future?

Or will all your posts be targeted at trashing HFSJ?

Good Luck? (I Guess)
Kalle Anka
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 06, 2005
Posts: 69
Hi,

I havnt read HFSJ, I'm using the SCWCD exam study kit by Hanumant Deskmukh et. al. (ISBN 1932394389). I think it came out in stores May 2005 so its brand new. And I think its a great book to learn from if you know your basic HTML and JavaScript.

So if you wanna widen your range of books to purchase, why not look at this book too?

best wishes
Bert Bates
author
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8806
    
    5
We really liked the older version of the Deshmuhk (?) book. We haven't really looked at the new version, but if it's as good as the last I'd say it's a great alternative. In general, when we look at a new book, we try to determine if it covers all the topics it's supposed to, and then we pick a few favorite topics and see how well we think they're covered.

The old version is a much different book than HFSJ, it seems to be targeted at slightly more advanced readers than HFSJ. I'd say if you're a complete newbie to servlets and jsp's it might be a little tougher to read, but if you're already somewhat familiar with these technologies it could be a good choice for you - certainly a lot less to read

Again, this is based on the older edition, but I also think that the mocks were pretty good too!

hth,

Bert


Spot false dilemmas now, ask me how!
(If you're not on the edge, you're taking up too much room.)
Ice Penov
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 19, 2005
Posts: 70
Originally posted by Dror Astricher:
Ice, that was realy funny man (((((((((((((((((((((((-:



That was the primary intention. I regret that some people did not had a sense of humor.


To Bert:

With your previous post you showed your value. You recommended an alternative to your book, the very same book you get money from. You sure earned my respect(if that has any meaning to you).Congratulations!

According to me, your book was a excellent market move. You sure know what the majority of the people want. You gave them that, and you got the expected effect. Analyzing what the market need is very important for a author who is preparing a book on a certain topic.

This is the last you get from me on this topic. I hope I have not offended anyone with my approach.

Regards,
Ice

P.S., the next meeting of the controversial group that dislikes the HF-style will be anounced in the next New York Times issue on page 16. Just follow the signs, decrypt the information and come join us!

[ July 23, 2005: Message edited by: Ice Penov ]
[ July 23, 2005: Message edited by: Ice Penov ]
Bert Bates
author
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8806
    
    5
Thanks Ice,

I have to share with you that we believe if you have a product that nobody hates - you're doing something wrong... ya gotta be out on the edge somewhere. (Actually, we didn't think very many people would like the books, so we're pleasantly surprised.)

Ice - I have a question for you (and of course anyone else)... what ARE a few of your favorite programming books, and do you consider them to be primarily learning books, or primarily reference books? It's not a trick question, our books are definitely NOT intended for reference. If you have a favorite programming book that you used to learn a new topic, what made it your favorite?

- Bert
Mat Williams
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 20, 2005
Posts: 215
Bert,

I have many many good books. For me what makes them good or bad is more about how easy to read the book is. Some of the things for me that make books hard to read are over use of acronyms and the use technical terms just to save a few words.

I think that the other main thing about a book is how easy the authors make it to follow along. I.e. I have a book on a new technology that I am using and to get the code to work the authors want me to download a version of Ant, and a version a specific db, and etc etc. This just takes away from what I am trying to achieve and make it more difficult for the reader. I am just interested in the technology and don't want to filter out the rest of the stuff.

Another pet hate that we probably all have when trying to learn something, is examples that just don’t work, and in the case of a certification study guide questions and answers that don't match or answers that are just plain wrong.

I will add at this point that I have a copy of HFSJ and whist for the most part I find it good, there are times when the speech bubbles and side notes etc take away from the discussion, and there are several occasions that I have found qu's that are wrong or at least appear to be, from lts of experimentation and experience. I will also add, given the flaming that ICE has had, that anyone who take offence at this is missing the point and all flaming will be ignored. It is just my opinion and, others can disagree, and that is fine.

Hope this helps.

Matthew Williams
Ice Penov
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 19, 2005
Posts: 70
Hi Bert.

The answer to your question.

Favorite programming books:

The Core series--Core Java vol. I and II by Cay Horstmann, Gary Cornell, Core JSP and Servlets by Marty Hall, Larry Brown. Another book I consider an excellent book(although not programming related) is AI � A modern approach by Steve Russel, Peter Norvig. They are all published by Prentice Hall.

Why these books?

All these books �dig deep� into the topic. After you read the book, not only you will gain firm knowledge, you�ll also gain a various techniques of approaching a general problem. They are all �filled� with great examples that go throughout the book. That�s what I value most in a book.

Why I like these books?

I really can�t tell. Probably, the professors on my college made a deep impact in my approach. They enjoyed in �torturing� us with the core picture of the material, and they were pretty demanding about it!(sometimes I think they were going too far.) So, maybe that�s why I find these books valuable. Maybe.

What I expected from HFSJ when I first opened it?

Considering the fact that my expectations were high, because of the incredible response I got from the ranch, I expected a great book according to my criteria described above. I sure did not expected a book with that amount of illustrative content in it and a book that goes in an problem and says to you�Relax, you don�t need this for the exam! Well, the probability is high that you�re going to need it in the real-life. With this Excellent guide for passing the exam you have the following situation:

�Guy 1: Hi, I�m new to j2ee. I wanna pass SCWCD. What should I use?
Guy 2: You�ll pass very easily if you use HFSJ. We all have done that.
Guy 1: Thanx, man.
(�after a while�)
Guy 2: I passed today with 91%. Thanx, SCWCD!�

This proves you have done a wonderful job with making passing the exam not tough job. To me, your book is saying:

�This is going to be on the exam, so memorize it(trust us we know, we made the exam.). This you don�t need to know, cause it is not in the exam. Take this mock exam�a similar one you�ll have on the exam day(trust us we know,�).�

Pardon me, but why don�t you just hand over the questions and spare us the time and the funny karate jokes and the guy that always asks the stupid questions.

Are we not defeating the purpose of the exam certificate this way? Will the Guy 2 have the required knowledge pointed by his certificate made of paper?


Bert, sorry for the long post. But there was not an easy way of telling the above. As an author, I know you�ll appreciate this reader feedback, no matter this particular reader is criticizing your book!


Regards,
Ice

P.S., BTW, I didn�t really trashed my sample of HFSJ . It was a metaphor. No book is worth trashing.
Mat Williams
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 20, 2005
Posts: 215
Ice & Bert,

I agree. I think that if we as a community encourage people to pass the exam just by memorizing a whole bunch of stuff and telling them what it is they should be memorizing then all we are doing is 1) degrading the value of the certification and 2) creating people who are not really that much good in the workforce. They may know some of the theory (a lot will be forgotton fairly quickly) but they have very little idea about why you should do things the way we do. This stuff (why we do things a certain way) is not covered in the exam but really, it is the most important part of it. I have been using Servlets since 1999/2000 and I am only getting certification now becase I need it because employers are no longer able to easily differentiate between those who actually know the stuff and those that boast or claim they do but actually don't.

I have done most of my learning from another book, and looked to HFSJ for points of clarification, and I bought it because it was written by the exam authors, knowing full well that if I could read their book and understand the way they where thinking then my experience would get me through the exam after a slight brushup on some of the newer parts of the spec.

Bert I don't know how you write a popular book that covers the above stuff. Once poeple start to realise that they don't need something for the exam, then they just skip it to get the certification as easily and quickly as possible. Maybe SUN need to address this in future versions of the exam other wise it is going to become worth very little fairly quickly. Just my opinion.

I think the other thing worth noting from Ice's previous post is that, and again I agree, a book needs to meet you where you are at to be considered a good book, and we all change where we are at all the time. Mood, enthusiasm, past mentors, and tutors, and previous skill and experience all change this. Very tough call writing a book that is widely appreciated. You guys have obviously done really well, to get such wide acceptance and praise.

Matthew
Bert Bates
author
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8806
    
    5
Ice, Mat, et. al.,

I'd like to give a little background on the exam and the book. Sun creates its exams in several phases, two of which are relevant to this discussion. First they create objectives, and then they create the exam. We were involved in creating the objectives only to a small degree. And when it came time to create the exam, again, we were involved, but Sun uses a large team of experts to create the actual questions. So, in the end, we have a pretty good idea of what's covered on the exam, but we have only partial control of what's covered.

That said, if we were the masters of the universe, we would certainly have changed the topics and emphasis of the exam in several places, but alas we're not

Next, we're faced with the task of deciding a focus for our book. Usually, we prefer our books to have a single focus, but in this case we decided that the Sun objectives weren't too far from what we'd cover in a beginning servlets book, so we decided that we could make this book a book with two goals:

1 - Be a study guide for the Sun exam
2 - Be an intro to servlets and jsps

When Sun designed this exam, the goal was to certify candidates with 6 to 12 months experience writing servlets and jsps. The intention of this certification isn't to say "If you pass this exam, you are a Servlets God, you are a Guru and a genius, and all should bow before you" Instead, the intention is that if you pass the exam, it proves that you have a solid foundation in the technologies.

So we aligned our goals for the book accordingly. Our goals were to give the beginning servlets programmer a solid foundation in the technology, and along the way, to help the reader prepare for the exam.

Servlets and JSPs are IMHO, HUGE technologies! I think that Marty Hall's book is great, but he decided to split it into two volumes, and I'm not sure he ever got the second volume done.

So, back to the book:


�Guy 1: Hi, I�m new to j2ee. I wanna pass SCWCD. What should I use?
Guy 2: You�ll pass very easily if you use HFSJ. We all have done that.
Guy 1: Thanx, man.
(�after a while�)
Guy 2: I passed today with 91%. Thanx, SCWCD!�

This proves you have done a wonderful job with making passing the exam not tough job. To me, your book is saying:

�This is going to be on the exam, so memorize it(trust us we know, we made the exam.). This you don�t need to know, cause it is not in the exam. Take this mock exam�a similar one you�ll have on the exam day(trust us we know,�).�

Pardon me, but why don�t you just hand over the questions and spare us the time and the funny karate jokes and the guy that always asks the stupid questions.


Ouch! that hurts! Also, I don't think it's the truth. First of all, we've written computer books in a more 'normal' style, and obviously, in the HF style. I gotta tell you, a HF book is a LOT harder to write than a normal book. We really mean what we say in the intro to every HF book, and that is that we believe that the old styles of teaching and learning run counter to mountains of brain research that has occured in the last few decades. So the karate jokes aren't there to fill pages, and our experience is that they're not a real time saver from the author's perspective Everything we put into a HF book is there because we think it'll help a human brain understand and retain the material faster and more completely. No kidding! We certainly understand that we're rocking a lot of boats, and again, we never expected that everyone would like these weird tomes!

As far as making the exam easy to pass, again, I'd have to disagree. The servlets book is almost 900 pages long. Most people report that the exam questions in the book are harder than the questions on the real exam. I think you'd be hard pressed to prove the notion that candidates are 'memorizing' what's going to be on the exam... 900 pages of memorizing? I think it's far more likely that candidates who read the book and then get a good grade on the exam, actually learned something

I know, I know, it's a radical thought, but I've got some data to back it up... HF Java isn't a certification book, and it's out sold every other Java book since its release. People aren't buying HF Java to memorize stuff for an exam, we think they're buying it to learn Java And we think the reason it's done well is because people actually DO learn from it. Just a thought

Now onto the "you don't need to know this because it's not on the exam" - ouch again! I have to say that I can't think of a single topic that we felt was an important topic, that we left out "because it's not on the exam". There is a mountain of stuff in the book that's not on the exam... it's in the book because we felt it was important. Admittedly, there are topics in the book that we wouldn't have covered if it hadn't been a study guide, but we're pretty forthcoming with our opinions about those topics. In other words, if we think a topic isn't a particularly good one in general, but it's on the exam, we say so. Because the book is also a study guide, we really didn't have a choice - we couldn't leave topics out just because we didn't like them

Ice, it sounds to me like your style of book is one that is very dense, covers a lot of material, and probably makes a pretty good reference book later on. I've got no problem with that kind of book, I own quite a few myself My experience is however, that that kind of book tends to not provide efficient learning experiences. I'm not saying you can't learn from a reference book, obviously you can, but I am saying that the learning tends to be slower and more painful.

Again, I'll go back to focus... if you're a seasoned servlets programmer, who wants a complete reference, then HFSJ is not the book for you - that was never its goal. There are over 2000 Java books in print, obviously it's a big topic, and no single book can hope to cover the whole shee-bang.

Mat -

A lot of what I said above relates to your post, but there are a few more points I'd like to address:

First off, I think that certification is worthwhile, but I think a lot of people blow it out of proportion. It's not equivalent to a college degree, nor is it equivalent to years and years of experience. It does prove a certain level of intelligence, and it proves a certain work ethic. It also proves that the candidate knew a baseline of material at the time of the exam. Obviously all knowledge fades if it's not put to use.

Would it be good if certification exams were deeper and more thorough? Absolutely! Unforunately, economics are involved... dang! It seems like $150 is about what people are willing to pay to take the exam. Between exam development, maintenance, and the costs incurred by the testing centers, there's not a huge amount of fat left over. I have no doubt that if people were willing to pay, say $500 for an advanced exam, that a much better exam could be created. I will say however that the Sun exams have evolved a lot over the last several years, and that they are much more 'real world' than they used to be - especially given the constraints under which they are created and administered.

I guess the long and short of it is, I think the exams are a pretty good value, and I think you have to keep them in perspective.

All THAT said, I do appreciate the feedback and the time you've taken to write!

- Bert

p.s. Do you guys believe in certification books at all? If so, what should they be like? Again, it's a sincere question.
[ July 24, 2005: Message edited by: Bert Bates ]
Mat Williams
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 20, 2005
Posts: 215
Bert,

Thanks for the reply.

Firstly what you said about the exams, their focus and who they where aimed at is very interesting and sheds some light on things. I would add that in my experience as a developer in Adelaide Australia, the certification seems carry more weight than what Sun intended, so I guess my view of the exams was tainted a bit by this experience. I will also add at this point that I have a huge dislike of inexperienced IT people who espouse a large amount of knowledge that they just don’t have, and use certification to back them up. I see it all the time and so again with this in mind and the understanding of what Sun believes the certification means (as you have said) I have been unfair, and will in future point out what Sun's view of certification is to these people.

In response to your other question, I do believe in certification books. However I am new to certification as it has only really become necessary recently due to the flooding of IT people into the job market, so I am not really at a point to comment. I will say 2 things. 1) I found the book you co authored with Kath Sierra (Sun Certified Programmer & Developer for Java 2 Study Guide) very helpful, as I had never done certification before, and it gave me lots of practice questions that turned out to be very much like the real exam questions - fantastic from that point of view - recommend it any time. 2) In the past most of my learning has been through more text/reference type books and I think I learn better through them, I know most people don't though.

I think the other thing I would add is if Sun did spend the time and effort setting up exams which did sort out junior and senior programmers, i.e. not recommended for programmers with less than say 5-8 yrs experience, even if they where $US 500, I would probably do them, but I recognize that others wouldn't.

Hope this helps.

Matthew
Ice Penov
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 19, 2005
Posts: 70
Bert,

Firstly, sorry for the �ouches�. It is just me, that�s my approach�some of you may like it, some of you may hate it. I really am not trying to impose something. At least, try to understand.

You presented some very good points in your post. However, my attitude towards specifically HFSJ, remains intact.

If you say your question is sincere, here�s my sincere answer�

Yeah, I sure am a believer. Just for instance, I used �A Programmers Guide to Java Certification� by Khalid Mughal, Rolf Rasmussen just to guide me through the objectives. Maybe this is the kind of cert book that a reader can later on use as a reference.

I would really like to see a 'normal'(what a term!) book written by you, Bert(I don't know, is the K&B acronym refers to that kind of book?). Just pour your thoughts and your valued experience upon me(the reader). Don't try to think in terms of: will and how the reader would understand. Abandon the burden of that such a high abstraction.

You should note that I approve the HF-theory about efficient learning. But, I think that that's the reader job--to know to 'put himself in efficient mode'. He should know best from his experience. Why don't you just publish a book, let's say, 'Head First Thinking' , and describe how you should learn. Then, make a recomendation to that book from your HF-series. Then I can use your HF-series without the things I find a bit irritating. This seems pretty OO to me, opposed to 'repeating the code' in every HF-book. BTW, I know that's impossible for many reasons .

I think that you must classify the readers to know if the book is doing a good job.Here's is a radical thought:

Let's split the readers in two categories:

Group I: People in the industry who wanna confirm their knowledge through an IT certificate. They already have very solid knowledge on the topic and they just need a guide that will tell them what they need to learn, what's on the exam, etc...They feel a little strange about this book, but go on. Here, your book is a God send and is very useful and effective. These guys just use the book and go on with their life..

Group II: People that heard that IT profession pays a lot these days and heard that there is a Guide(that has the label Don't Panic written with an awesome font on the front cover ) that can help them gain the required knowledge,hints and tricks for passing the exam, in a very graphical and illustrative way that people in the ancient Egypt can understand( if written on a cave wall ). They go through the Guide as many times as necessary, do a couple of hundreds of mock exams from various places on the net. In their eyes this book is the greatest book on the planet, cause it 'transformed' them from Java enthusiast into Sun Certified Professionals. The purpose of IT certification demanded by the employees, here is defeated.

Now, consider the situation--
Guy I from Group I and Guy II from Group II apply for the same job position that have just SCWCD as a prerequisite. They look the same from the employees eye(maybe just that one candidate is more cute than the other ). The outcome I leave to you.


Ice, it sounds to me like your style of book is one that is very dense, covers a lot of material, and probably makes a pretty good reference book later on. I've got no problem with that kind of book, I own quite a few myself My experience is however, that that kind of book tends to not provide efficient learning experiences. I'm not saying you can't learn from a reference book, obviously you can, but I am saying that the learning tends to be slower and more painful.


Dense--not necessarily, deep--yes. I think these books can be very valuable when you encounter a new technology. Depending of that book your further usage of that same technology. These first encounters are very important and leave deep mark of how I understand the technology.

For instance, in one of the books I like about Java, it was presented to me that I should nearly describe object data private with mutator/accessor methods. This is what I always did from that point. Later on, I found out why it is very nice approach.
[/QB]



First off, I think that certification is worthwhile, but I think a lot of people blow it out of proportion. It's not equivalent to a college degree, nor is it equivalent to years and years of experience.


I couldn't agree more. I mean, 5 years(on my college) >> 3 months study.


Bert, I think maybe, just maybe, you could be that kind of an author that will direct those first encounters in the right way and impact the development of an excellent technology. I was unable to tell from your book, cause I was unable to find the text among the graphics .

I gotta run(people say finally, followed by a mass applause). My battery is complaining.

Sorry for the potential 'ouches'. Take them in a constructive way.

Regards,
Ice

p.s., to others out there--don't think of me like you are already thinking. You'll be suprised to see what kind of guy I am
[ July 25, 2005: Message edited by: Ice Penov ]
Leandro Melo
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 27, 2004
Posts: 401
Given the goals that Bert presented for the book in the later post (be a scwcd guide and an intro book for servlets and jsps), as long with his comments, I thinks it's a great book.
I don't think the book is perfect (as any other book I've ever read isn't either), but it accomplishes it's goals.


Leandro Melo
SCJP 1.4, SCWCD 1.4
shiva viswanathan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 12, 2004
Posts: 152
HI Ice ,

Just one question . Is your name really ICE .?
I find it pretty amazing that you have a name which is so closely alligned
to your attitude . As cold as Ice . Did you evolve like that beacuase of your name or did you change your name according to your attitude
No emotions or jokes for Mr Ice

No , i am not trying to criticize you .In fact I enjoyed your posts.
Finally a lively debate at javaranch
If it is not your real name (I'll be surprised if it is )
I would like to redirect you to change your profile after reading the naming policy at web page
as specified by the rules of javaranch . I am surprised none of the moderators have caught this yet . Is it due to Ice's popularity

I dont think so HF team expected such a strong reaction from anyone.
I just hope that it doesnt make them change the wonderful HF style

I guess it is not of great value to pros but definitely a boon for beginners and not just from exam point of view

Catch You Later
Shiva
Chintan Rajyaguru
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 19, 2001
Posts: 341
My response at
http://chintanrajyaguru.com/blog/index.php?blogid=1&archive=2005-7-25
[ July 26, 2005: Message edited by: Chintan Rajyaguru ]

ChintanRajyaguru.com
SOADevelopment.com - Coming soon!
Ice Penov
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 19, 2005
Posts: 70
Hi Shiva,

Originally posted by shiva viswanathan:


Just one question . Is your name really ICE .?
I find it pretty amazing that you have a name which is so closely alligned
to your attitude . As cold as Ice . Did you evolve like that beacuase of your name or did you change your name according to your attitude



in my native language your name pronounced as it is, amazingly, means plum. So, as you say, did you evolve like that beacuase of your name or did you change your name according to your attitude ?

There's a way to prove that Ice(as spelled) is my birth-given name, if the moderators asks. Even, I am willing to change it, if requested. It is pretty common name from were I come from(and I don't come from Iceland ).

Here I would add that javaranch.com is a great place. Everyone can express opinions, freely, open-minded.

Again, I'm sorry if I offended anyone, in anyway. If so, please forgive me.(maybe I should put this as my signature )

Stay well, my java friends from around the globe.

Ice
shiva viswanathan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 12, 2004
Posts: 152
Hi Ice ,

Thanks for sharing an interesting fact ( my name means plum in some language
pretty amazing )

Hey out of curiosity can you please tell me which language
Is it russian ?

Hey , i didnt mean it personally .
I was pretty amazed by the coincidence thats all.
Life never ceases to surprise.
I guess you are a good guy deep down after all

Keep up the good spirit

Catch You Later
Shiva
Ice Penov
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 19, 2005
Posts: 70
Macedonian.
kapil munjal
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 11, 2004
Posts: 298
Bert/Ice & all,

This is one of the fantastic discussion, I have ever seen on any book. Well, there are 2 nice views from two different learned people.

Ice has been a very good reader, who has read many books on programming and has a very wide view about the books in our field. But his views are a little arbitrary. I feel that Ice thinks that most of the people on this earth use their mind upto the maximum percentage(I read somewhere that Einstien used only 11-15% of his brain(correct me if I am wrong), which is the maximum can be used). And not all uses upto this percentage. Normally, the general public used maximum 10% of the brain and it is the maximum and there are very few people who have used 10%, who are good thinkers and keep on using their brain cells all the time.

So, the percentage of people who use 10% is very less and that way you can go down and see that 9% usage is a little more and then 8% is more.

Well, there are a lot of studies going on human mind and how it understands things and how he keep them in memory and what is the duration of fading things from human brains etc.

Today's man is like, who wants to do everything in just one life and looks for easier alternative and thats why we are going for faster machines, robots, easy communication etc. All these things actually deteriorate the learning capabilities of our mind and our mind stops learning and memorizing things for a longer duration because we have so many things to do all the work for us. We keep phone numbers stored in phone memory, email addresses in address books, supplies list in our PDA. So, now we dont need to worry about all this and things are pretty cool and our mind doesn't need to remember all this. so, its less work for our mind and it is becoming lazy.

Now, we are 2 books one which shows us the easy way to learn from those people who use less %age of their mind and they are able to learn effectively in less time without much effort.

Whereas, we have other books which require more usage of our mind and it required more motivation to read and it does have benefits with it. But as we all dont have time and we want to do things in an easy way..we go for those books which can teach us in less time and with less effort. And we have HF-Series.

The book is becoming really popular because of all the techniques used in teaching the topics. All the techniques used in the books forces our brain to think and that way we are able to learn whatever is written. So, now people who used 5% of their brain to learn, then go with 5% but ended up using 5.5 or 6% of their brain and that way they end up learning new concepts in less time.

Ice, you have been criticising this book for valid reasons from the perspective of those people who use 8-10% of their brain(ofcourse no one can match Einstein' brain).

Bert, I must say that a lot of hard work has been put into writing this book and this healthy discussion will definitely help you to improve the techniques used to make readers learn new concepts.

Ice, if you have read any book of HF-series, then can you try to find out what graphic representation of differenct concepts did to your mind. Did it help you in learning things faster or made you letharging looking at so many images.

Well, if you are person trying to understand how mind works, what techniques would you use to make the concepts "easy to learn" for the users. If you answer this question then Bert will havenew idea to make changes in the book and make it more effective for learning.

Ice, I am not against your view of the book being too big or having too many graphic presentations. But, I must say that your view is arbitrary.
[ July 26, 2005: Message edited by: kapil munjal ]
sergio mendez-rueda
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 12, 2005
Posts: 37
Originally posted by Bert Bates:
Ice, Mat, et. al.,

1 - Be a study guide for the Sun exam
2 - Be an intro to servlets and jsps

-[ July 26, 2005: Message edited by: s mendez]


Hi H. Bates,
(bartender and AUTHOR)
(wer schereibt wirklich ein Buch or are there a lot of ghostwriters overthere?)
conceptual question,
the facts(this is your book):
HFSJ page 296:
quote---------296
...
API Implicit Object
JspWriter out
HTTpServletRequest request
HttpservletResponse response
...
...
quote--------296

page 339 mock exam

quote--------339
In sequence what are the java types of the following JSP implicit objects:
application, out, request, response, session
answer:
java.servlet.ServletContext
java.servlet.jsp.JspWriter
java.servlet.ServletRequest
java.servlet.ServletResponse
java.servlet.http.HttpSession
quote--------339
IS PAGE 296 RIGHT OR PAGE 339?
Do you know, what are you writing about?
==>jsp-2_0-frspec.pdf(Table JSP.1-6 Implicit Objects Available in JSP Pages):
==>...
==> request protocol dependent subtype of:
javax.servlet.servletRequest
e.g:
javax.servlet.http.HttpServletRequest
==> response protocol dependent subtype of:
javax.servlet.servleResponse
e.g:
javax.servlet.http.HttpServleResponse
==> ...

I think, your ghostwriters have no idea about JSP Specification Version 2.0
sergio
-----------------------
Human errors can only be avoided if one can avoid the use of humans.
Kathy Sierra
Cowgirl and Author
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 10, 2002
Posts: 1572
Howdy all,
Well -- it's not often a thread brings me out of my temporary retirement : )

This has been a great discussion -- thanks Ice, Bert, Mat, and others for offering such specific information. This is MOST useful to us, the certification team, and all of the other technical authors and teachers on javaranch.

But to answer Sergio's question...
First, we definitely don't have ghostwriters! (I *wish* -- then we could have been skiing instead of working on the book ; )

But while Bert and I had a great deal of experience with Java and EJB, neither of us felt we had enough expertise with the newer servlet/JSP specs to do the Servlets/JSP book without adding a third person to our team, and we could think of nobody more qualified than Bryan Basham -- my co-worker from Sun Education. He was the lead developer on Sun's own courseware for the new Servlets and JSP specs, and also the lead developer of the SCWCD exam. The three of us worked together on this book, almost day and night for nine months -- face-to-face (we all live in Colorado). I cannot think of a single sentence in the book written by anyone other than us (well, except maybe the copyright notice ; ))

But the fact that you felt this way means that we did not do a good enough job on the book, and for that I apologize.

Your point is an important one... page 339 and 296 do not list the same information. But they are both correct in *practice*. Page 339 lists the implicit object types according to the spec, including ServletRequest and ServletResponse as the types for request and response.

However, on page 296 we listed the subtypes, HttpServletRequest and HttpServletResponse (which are of course technically ServletRequest and ServletResponse types), to represent what you would get in PRACTICE -- 99.9999 % of the time. To be 100% accurate for the spec, we should have made it more clear on page 296 that we were using the default -- and assumed -- HTTP protocol. We believed that we had made that clear earlier in the book, when we discussed that the spec developers had left the door open for non-HTTP protocols, but that in practice you will virtually always be using HTTP. From your comment, though, I can see that I did not do a good enough job at making it clear that HTTP was always our assumption (I'm the one who wrote that chapter, so I'm the guilty party here).

In the future, we will try to be more explicit about this. So -- to answer your question, both pages are correct. Page 339 lists the guaranteed supertype, and page 296 lists the implicit subtype you get in the real world. For an exam certification book, though, I can see how this would be confusing for someone who wants to know what the exam questions are expecting you to know!

So, again my apologies. In the next revisions, I'll try to do a better job at making this point wherever it might lead to confusion. For now, assume that both pages are accurate for the purposes of the exam (and the real world), since the exam also assumes the HTTP protocol.

Thanks for the comment, Sergio. This helps!


Co-Author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0596007124/ref=jranch-20" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">"Head First Design Patterns"</a><br /> <br />Just a Jini girl living in a J2EE world.
Jack Gold
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 04, 2005
Posts: 85
Bert/Kathy,

I enjoy your books, but I can understand why someone does not warm to the approach. Getting a CS degree in the early/mid 90's, there were not any books like the HF series. A person develops the abilty to skim-read large amounts of "reference style" material and focus on key points. While we are not being chased by a Tiger, we learn how to make it an active experience.

This is analagous to the differnce between standard musical notation and guitar tablature. While reading standard notation is more difficult and is not as immediate as the "put your finger here" approach, there is ultimately more value in standard notation as it is able to communicate more information about the music. While I enjoy the HF books (have Design Patterns and now HFSJ), I find myself sometimes slowed and distracted in that I'm not using the approah I have honed over the past ten years. Imagine handing a clasically trained musician some tablature and there would be the same effect!

I personally believe the the Head First approach works great for conceptual material like Design Patterns which is typically a reading comprehension exercise, but is not as good for communicating code (Example, Ch3 MVC tutorial) which is already an active pursuit as the developer types in, compiles, and then modifies the code. In these instances, some of the extras are just distracting. I prefer the carefully distilled O'reilly style animal books for code transfer.

Not complaining too much because your books have already gotten me from point A to point B on a number of occasions. However, for my money, if you really want to sell me more HF books, you should have the "sceptical developer" girl wearing a bikini. That would be great.


SCJP 1.4<br />SCJD <br />SCWCD (Studying)
lexander Bosco
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 21, 2005
Posts: 65
hmmm...
well i have read through this whole thread,though old but i just want to say that your book(kathy and bert) on the scjp certification is my best certification book so far.
those inbetween jokes are part of the reasons why i could finish the book.
you see ice people generally dont like a "stiff" book, thats why kids memorize thier nursery rhymes for years.
i deeply have gained from this discussion its like i just read a whole book in 45 minutes


Group I: People in the industry who wanna confirm their knowledge through an IT certificate. They already have very solid knowledge on the topic and they just need a guide that will tell them what they need to learn, what's on the exam, etc...They feel a little strange about this book, but go on. Here, your book is a God send and is very useful and effective. These guys just use the book and go on with their life..

Group II: People that heard that IT profession pays a lot these days and heard that there is a Guide(that has the label Don't Panic written with an awesome font on the front cover ) that can help them gain the required knowledge,hints and tricks for passing the exam, in a very graphical and illustrative way that people in the ancient Egypt can understand( if written on a cave wall ). They go through the Guide as many times as necessary, do a couple of hundreds of mock exams from various places on the net. In their eyes this book is the greatest book on the planet, cause it 'transformed' them from Java enthusiast into Sun Certified Professionals. The purpose of IT certification demanded by the employees, here is defeated.

Now, consider the situation--
Guy I from Group I and Guy II from Group II apply for the same job position that have just SCWCD as a prerequisite. They look the same from the employees eye(maybe just that one candidate is more cute than the other ). The outcome I leave to you

ice thats why some companies have job tests . thats where they seperate the men from the boys.

i agree with the senior programmer -junior programmer exam thing, it will be greatly appreciated(my opinion), because here in nigeria if you certified you will eat the pay bigtime. This has also made most in-experienced people go on to take the shortcut(certification).

bert & kathy plz continue with your jokes, even as i post this my colleague preparing for his SCJP is laughing over his table due to ur inbetween jokes(though thats just one of its purpose), but plz give deeper and more examples thats only what i see u need to add.

well i really have gained a lot from this discussion.
ice u are . bert u d man ,kathy u d best.


there is no knowledge that is not power<br />-<br />SCJP 1.4<br />SCWCD in progress<br />SCMAD in progress
Claudiu Cismaru
Greenhorn

Joined: Oct 05, 2005
Posts: 2
Interesting discussion...
One thought ... somehow related to this thread...
I finished reading the other book, from Manning (Deshmukh and Malavia) - the book is ok - didn't enjoy it much, the after-chapters tests are rather simple, and the construction of the phrases in English is sometimes not the obvious one (even for someone with a different first language than English).

Today I've ordered Bert and Kathy's book (HF) because of a few reasons:
- First, I read different comments saying that the sample tests are allright (maybe a bit more difficult that the exam - some say.)
- I want an alternative to the one from manning - true, I don't target to read each single page. (I red a few pages already and to me it seems ok.)
- Last, not least, my main point, 1 month before taking the exam, is to pass the exam with the highest rate I can.
(Note here: professionally speaking, I'm the same person before and after the exam.)

Two years ago I took the Sun Java Programmer certification, preparing for the test with Kathy's book.
At that time I was complaining that I have to carry a few extra pages (grams) because of those jokes and "isn't it?!" type of comments...
However, in 2y from that date, I still open the book from time to time, searching one detail or another that are gone from my mind.
(The book also helped to get a pretty good score.)

This writing style, a bit more targeted towards the exam, as well as towards making people speak about this book's containment - and here's that flavour - "the strawberry flavoured pages" as ICE said (imagine two guys that red the book commenting not only some code snippets, but also the joke from page X) may be a bit on the same line with CNN's news but however, you can extract the information ignoring the berries and the jokes, and see that's still plenty of it inside.

I guess many professionals prefer the style reflected by books like Stroustrup's C++ book, but that's a type of reference book that you don't need to adapt for an exam that may be changing every year.

Myself I find benefic to read Kathy's and Bert's book and I think they did a pretty good job.

Claudiu
Peer Reynders
Bartender

Joined: Aug 19, 2005
Posts: 2922
    
    5
Originally posted by Claudiu Cismaru:
One thought ... somehow related to this thread...
I finished reading the other book, from Manning (Deshmukh and Malavia) - the book is ok - didn't enjoy it much, the after-chapters tests are rather simple.
...
Claudiu

The main problem with the 2nd Ed. Deshmukh and Malavia is that the update is incomplete which can be easily witnessed by the complaints on the book's forum. It seemed whenever I cross-referenced the Servlet 2.4/JSP 2.0 specs that the information in the book was out-of-date - i.e. it was still referring to the old exam's material (Servlet 2.3/JSP 1.2).
I also came across a significant amount of information in HF SJ/SCWCD (which I read afterwards) that was not covered in the SCWCD Study Kit 2nd Ed.
Naresh Saw
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 03, 2005
Posts: 66
hi Bert and all

Its good discussion but I want to say - people on this earch are not intelligent like Ice. Its easier to teach brilliant peope but Bert tried to teach a beginer which is the toughest job. HFSJ is very good book and thanks to all three writer : Bran Bashan, Kathy Siera and Bert Bates.


naresh<br />SCJP 1.4(86%), SCWCD 1.4(78%)
agrah upadhyay
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 01, 2005
Posts: 579
Really a nice discussion.............Thanx Ice for starting so good discussion
and firmly putting your views without being irritated!But in my humble view the book is really nice which i can continue reading 50 pages in one turn without
being bored like i am enjoying a novel!Kathy and Bert have you written any book on SCJA.i want to prepare for SCJA .Also wot the book design pattern is all about?
[ October 12, 2005: Message edited by: agrah upadhyay ]
Bert Bates
author
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8806
    
    5
Hi Agrah,

We're thinking about a book to help prepare for the SCJA - when we decide, we'll leteveryone on JavaRanch know.

As far as HF Design Patterns, we think this is a really good book! (I can say that because Eric and Beth wrote about 95% of it ). A lot of people have said that the Gang of Four book on Design Patterns is a very good book, but that it's hard to understand if you're new to thinking about OO patterns. So, a lot of people have found that HFDP is a great place to start learning about design patterns.

hth,

Bert
Karen Jirak
Greenhorn

Joined: Sep 13, 2005
Posts: 25
Hi everyone!

Good discussion here. I'd like to address this comment from Ice:

You should note that I approve the HF-theory about efficient learning. But, I think that that's the reader job--to know to 'put himself in efficient mode'. He should know best from his experience. Why don't you just publish a book, let's say, 'Head First Thinking' , and describe how you should learn. Then, make a recomendation to that book from your HF-series. Then I can use your HF-series without the things I find a bit irritating. This seems pretty OO to me, opposed to 'repeating the code' in every HF-book. BTW, I know that's impossible for many reasons.

Being that you don't seem to learn this way best, Ice, you don't seem, to me, to understand the mindset of someone who does. I have a master's degree in computer science (or, at least, I will by the end of the month). Do you know how much time I have put into doing the sort of thing that is done by the head first series? I definitely learn best by making the material 'come alive' - making little stories, quotes, or jokes to help me memorize and/or understand things. Doing this has gotten me a 3.88/4.0 GPA for my masters. But it takes A LOT more time while you are reading a book to make the material 'come alive' in this manner for yourself, so that you can more easily retain what you have read. I have to make up my own stories, quotes, jokes, etc. In head first, most of that is done FOR you. This is what makes it remarkably efficient for someone who learns best in this fashion. And in case you're wondering, no, making up the stories, quotes, etc., myself, does not help me to remember them better. Usually they don't help me remember as well, because my stories, jokes, and quotes are not as good . I can truly understand when Bert says that writing a Head First book is a lot more work than writing a 'normal' (normal.equals(boring)) book .

There are multiple ways of learning, sometimes there are multiple ways of 'learning best', even for a single person. My favorite methods are the 'head first' method - where you make the material come alive for yourself, and, in addition, putting the material to use, for myself. Taking what I have learned in books and immediately making a project where I can use it for myself, and test things out. If you JUST use the head first book to learn servlets and jsp and expect it to teach you everything, sure, you won't get half as much out of it. From reading the book, I really don't think that is even what Bert, Kathy, and Bryan intended. But the same thing can also be said about Core Java (I have the latest edition of this book and have read most of it, as well). And for Core Servlets and JavaServer Pages. And for ANY technology textbook.

I am INCREDIBLY grateful to have this type of book, it seriously gets into my head and allows me to spend less time in rote memorization. I am hoping and praying that books on more technologies will soon follow the same appraoch. I look in the bookstore and I see more books at least heading towards this trend, like the Just Java series.

All of that being said, I respect the way that you presented your views, Ice. Please just remember that if you don't learn the 'head first' way best, then maybe you can't accurately put yourself into the shoes of someone who does.


To Kathy, Bert, and Bryan,

More tigers, please .

Karen
[ October 14, 2005: Message edited by: Karen Jirak ]
Peer Reynders
Bartender

Joined: Aug 19, 2005
Posts: 2922
    
    5
Originally posted by Karen Jirak:
Please just remember that if you don't learn the 'head first' way best, then maybe you can't accurately put yourself into the shoes of someone who does.


I do not disagree with anything that you are saying - however you do not address the "expectations" that the the "Head First" phenomenon is creating, i.e. that everything should be this "easy".

As you have accurately pointed out, creating easy and interesting material is more time consuming and not always appropriate in a technical field that is evolving very quickly - in fact sometimes you have to be grateful that there is any documentation at all - which most likely had to be created in the most expedient fashion possible.

While the "Head First" approach is beneficial from the learning perspective, it also seems to have created a significant group of people that will not venture into any new territory that hasn't been already explored by "Head First".

I'm sorry but as a professional in this field you have to be able to read and extract the facts from dry and convoluted specifications, white papers, articles - most of which are produced under extreme time pressure.

Ultimately the only documents that you have any control over are you own, and there are ways (see Painless Functional Specifications - Part 4: Tips) to improve them. But you also have to hone your skills to get useful information out of terse and dense documents - because someone is going to create them (for whatever reason) and they may be your only source of information when you are in a pinch.
Karen Jirak
Greenhorn

Joined: Sep 13, 2005
Posts: 25
Hi Peer!

To address a few of your comments:
you do not address the "expectations" that the the "Head First" phenomenon is creating, i.e. that everything should be this "easy".

Gosh, does the head first phenomenon really expect it to be "easy"? I don't mean any sarcasm by this, it's just that I never got that feeling from it. I do think that they mean to imply that it should be easier then learning from "normal" textbooks, and with this much I agree.
As you have accurately pointed out, creating easy and interesting material is more time consuming and not always appropriate in a technical field that is evolving very quickly - in fact sometimes you have to be grateful that there is any documentation at all - which most likely had to be created in the most expedient fashion possible.

I agree with this wholeheartedly. I have used several technologies where the resources were incredibly scarce. But, when it comes to pervasive technologies, such as Java, I think that authors may be beginning to realize that there is a ginormous market for head first thinkers out there. Two of the top 25 best selling O'Reilly books are Head First books - neither of which were even created for certification, which means people only bought them to learn the technology and not pass an exam! Not to mention that Head First Servlets and JSP is #3 of the editor's picks at Amazon for 2004. I think that more authors will be reliazing that, not only is this a great way to teach people, but it's not a bad way to make money, either
While the "Head First" approach is beneficial from the learning perspective, it also seems to have created a significant group of people that will not venture into any new territory that hasn't been already explored by "Head First".

I can agree with you here. A lot of people may just use it to pass the test, do more than they have to, and that's that. Hopefully those people are the minority. I have a feeling those people will be weeded out by employers - a certification may help you get an interview, but many times it is what you do at the interview that gets you the job. Yes, this book does make it much easier to pass the exam, I will admit. And I guess that making a certification easier to pass devalue a certification to some extent - I was reading the other day how some employers looked at certification with disdain since they had hired some certified and found that they didn't know as much as they had expected. However, I think that a lot of employers see it as a good thing. The SAS institute frequently lists SCJP as desired qualities in their job listings, and they are one of the top employers in the country. And if you have done just enough to get by, I think you may find yourself in big trouble when you are at an interview or on the job, if you make your way to that point. You may not last long.
I'm sorry but as a professional in this field you have to be able to read and extract the facts from dry and convoluted specifications, white papers, articles - most of which are produced under extreme time pressure.

Again, I agree, and I have done so many times. But I do find that, if I don't make the material 'come alive' for myself, the retention of the material is more limited than if I do. On the other hand, if I have head first-like material I can retain the information for longer and learn it more quickly. But being able to process this dry material is definitely an essential skill, and hopefully most of us have that skill already.
Ultimately the only documents that you have any control over are you own

Again, this is a great point. Another thing that I do when I am learning a technology is to make MY OWN notes on the subject, kind of like MZ's notes. You can set things up how you like them and how you learn best, which is great. I personally like to hyperlink online notes to make a sort of "brain map" where I can follow tangents in my own thinking . I did this for SCJP and now I am doing it for SCWCD, as well.

Thanks for bringing up these points, Peer!

Karen

[ October 14, 2005: Message edited by: Karen Jirak ]
[ October 14, 2005: Message edited by: Karen Jirak ]
Ice Penov
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 19, 2005
Posts: 70
Hi Karen!

Thanks for sharing your view on this thread! So many people, same number of different views!

I don't have nothing to say more, than what I have said. I'm glad we both have books that we like and that are producing an effect on us. But, the effect will be different. I'll bet my life on it!

Also, I hope that specifically HFSJ, won't degrade the SCWCD certificate. OK, guys let's just consider these things:

1. This book is writen by an author that was involved in the actual Sun exam. Therefore, it is logical to expect that you'll be told what you'll get on the exam

2. Nearly everyone that get her/his hands to this book gets certified with fantastic score(Yeah, what's up with that? It's kinda strange..)

3. (Very questionable!) This book will create a warm, fuzzy efect on you after you read it-probably cause of the jokes and characters. You will be convinced that you actually learned something. But, once you got that job that has SCWCD as a prerequisite, you'll leave the colorful world of HF and you'll find yourself surrounded by practical code that you didn't encountered in HFSJ. What I am trying to say here, is that you'll have a firm, nice overview of the technology, but won't know how to apply it!!!

4. (again questionable) Real IT professionals has a reputation and style to hold on to. And it is kind a different one from the one imposed into HFSJ. I personally found myself hiding this book away from my coleagues!

5. If 1,2,3,4 are TRUE, than it is likely that HFSJ can degrade the value of the Sun's SCWCD certificate.

I really hope that point 5 won't come true and that I am wrong here!

This thread just won't DIE! So, let's finish this up! Everyone share your views to the following:

Do you think that this kind of excellent guides for passing the exam can degrade the value of the certificate? Will the certificate become just plain paper?!

See ya,
Ice
Jaya Nettem
Greenhorn

Joined: May 10, 2005
Posts: 24
When I first read HFSJ, I certainly did not think it was a marketing gimmick.
First thought that came to my mind was ... how much effort must have gone into
writing a book like this .. these people must really love teaching ... they
must really want the readers to understand what they are reading ...
It certainly is not a book suitable for memorizing ... there is a lot
of effort put into making the reader understand

As far as those serious readers are concerned ...
J2EE is not science ... it is technology ... SUN's specifications are available for every new technology they come up with. You don't need books
to make you understand specs. You can read the spec, understand and experiment with experience you already have.
 
Don't get me started about those stupid light bulbs.
 
subject: What is HFSJ?
 
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