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Professional JSP

Johannes de Jong
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Joined: Jan 27, 2001
Posts: 5089
<pre>Authors : Simon Brown, Robert Burdick, Jayson Falkner, Ben Galbraith, Rod Johnson,
Larry Kim, Casey Kochmer, Thor Kristmundsson, Sing Li
Publisher : Wrox
Category : J2EE & Distributed Computing
Review by : Angela Poynton - sheriff, June 2001
Rating : 10 horseshoes
</pre>
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 Plus it's completely up to date with the new specs so won't be out of date for a while.
More info at Amazon.com
More info at Amazon.co.uk
More info at FatBrain.com
[This message has been edited by Johannes de Jong (edited December 05, 2001).]
Marcus Green
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Joined: Sep 14, 1999
Posts: 2813
Professional JSP published by Wrox (First Release, and I am deeply envious that Angela has a copy of the 2nd release)
Executive summary
In depth coverage for anyone who really wants to know the subject.
My thoughts after owning it for 3 months
Until fairly recently I was not convinced of the validity of JSP technologies. My problem was that JSP's allow you to mix up code within HTML. The creation of presentation and the programming of logic require very different skill sets and mixing the two can cause problems. The more I have come to understand JSP the more I realise how important it is. When used properly it allows designers access to functionality created by programmers without them having to learn to program, it can help the separation of logic from appearance. In some ways learning the JSP technologies is more complex than learning servlets, as you have another layer of abstraction when your JSP code is turned into servlet code "behind the scenes".
This book has 891 pages including index and has 16 authors listed (with photos on the front cover). The only author I had heard of before was John Zukowski (get a new photo John), a well respected author of Java books. An advantage of the the team approach is that the material is all relatively up to date which is very important in an area like JSP. A year ago it was hard to find any support or tools for JSP programming, standards had only just started to settle down and the vendors had just started to bring out tools.
It doesn't come with a CD which I don't consider a drawback as a CD seems to significantly put up the price of technical books. You can download the source code from the Wrox web site. This is not JSP for Dummies, don't pick it up unless are already a competent Java programmer. By page 30 the books is showing you the Java servlet code generated by the JSP engine. You might regard this as too much detail, but that is the code that is running in your JVM, and understanding that code allows you a greater understanding of the whole process.
On browsing the topics I initially jumped to chapter 10 debugging JSP. This is an excellent coverage of generic problems that can occur in JSP code. Because JSP code gets converted to servlet code before compilation it can be hard to track down trivial errors This chapter gives advice such as locating the generated servlet and then using a debugger to step through that code to locate problems. Appendix A covers configuring Apache and Tomcat, as Tomcat is now the reference implementation of JSP technology this is probably worth a place as a chapter rather than an Appendix. As Tomcat is freely available it is a good bet that most newcomers to the technology will be using it and that other tools vendors will generally ensure that they conform to the Tomcat standards such as XML configuration files.
Chapter 8 covers the Tag extensions and Libraries. This is a relatively new technology introduced in JSP 1.1, and there is very little printed literature available on it at the moment. The Tag system allows you to extend the tags that can be embedded in a JSP page and means you can further divide up the work off creating an interactive web site between the designers and the programmers. Where I work we have adopted the Tag system wholesale as part of our web framework and if you do a search on the web you will find people working like crazy to create Tag library systems. The chapter covers 20 pages, which illustrates the depth that can be given to a topic in a book of this size. This book goes well beyond the basics.
I like authors to tell me about their problems as well as their triumphs. This is illustrated in Chapter 14 the photography database case study. The author mentions a problem he had when attempting to do low level manipulation of jpg files. The classes required are only available if a GUI is loaded. Of course, under windows this never a problem, but under Linux the OS can be started without the Xwindows GUI. The author goes on to explain how to use this type of code with either MySQL or Postgres, databases available for my favourite price (free) and made available by many ISP's.
Some of the newly breaking technologies covered by the book are XSLT,JNDI, custom tags, multimedia streaming and WAP. These are such new technologies that there are very few books available at the moment that cover them (and most of them are from Wrox).
Pros
In depth writing by people who know the subject referring to up to date technologies. Lot's of examples using a wide range of technologies. It's a big in-depth resource with lots of code and example case studies.
Cons
I'd rather the size of the book was trimmed a little, even for an in-depth book. I don't think the chapter on porting ASP to JSP will appeal to many readers and the inclusion of the JSP and servlet API reference seems like unnecessary padding.
Is it worth it?
Yes, it covers the subject in depth and is well worth the money. I'm keen to see what the next update brings, especially as new JSP related tools become available. I still keep referring to it and going over the examples.
Marcus Green 11 March 2001

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[This message has been edited by Marcus Green (edited July 10, 2001).]


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<pre>Author/s : Simon Brown, Sam Dalton, Dan Jepp, Dave Johnson, Sing Li, and Matt Raible
Publisher : Apress
Category : Servlets, JSP and Tag Libraries
Review by : Gregg Bolinger
Rating : 10 horseshoes
</pre>
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.


More info at Amazon.com
More info at Amazon.co.uk
 
Don't get me started about those stupid light bulbs.
 
subject: Professional JSP