However I am looking for some good resources to help me learn and how to turn this knowledge into building a real system. I'd be interested in how other folks have approached learning JEE, what resources they used, and, most importantly, how they adapted what the learned on books / websites etc into developing applications.
I've looked at two examples myself, SUN's JEE tutorial and the one on javapassion. My feeling of doing both of those was it was a lot of reading without really teaching me HOW to use JEE to create an application. I guess the latter comes with experience but as I've stated above, pointers and previous experience of other Java ranchers would be much appreciated.
I am SCJP, and hopefully will soon be SCJD.
4 years professional experience with Java SE, mainly using Swing but also familliar with a fair amount of the Java SE API and JMS.
No experience what-so-ever with JEE.
I do have an idea of an application I could build but I'm in a bit of chicken-and-egg. I need to learn some JEE to see if it could be used to achieve this.
When I started off with JavaEE development, some years back, I decided to use my own simple application(s). As simple as, a single html or a jsp application which would do nothing more than print out a hello message. I would refer to some existing tutorials and books to create the application, but made it a point that I would just not copy the existing tutorials.
As and when I learnt some new technology, I would just keep adding it to the same application. After some time, I ended up having a application which covered most of the JavaEE (and other) technologies that I have learnt till date. Ofcourse, that application doesn't make much sense in a real world scenario - it was never intended to be one.
In short, if you are interested in learning something, then pickup some book or some other documentation and start implementing some simple applications of your own And yes, if you are stuck with some problem then there's always the forums.
it sounds like a good approach you took and I'll certainly be trying it out. I think it is particularly important that you wrote the code yourself rather than copying it from the existing tutorials. That's when learning will happen!
Could you recommend certain books / websites that you used?