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Professional Java E-Commerce by Subrahmanyam Allamaraju, et al (Wrox)

Johannes de Jong
tumbleweed
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Joined: Jan 27, 2001
Posts: 5089
<pre>Authors : Subrahmanyam Allamaraju, Ronald Ashri, Chad Darby, Robert Flenner, Alex Linde,
Tracie Karsjens, Mark Kerzner, Alex Krotov, Jim MacIntosh, James McGovern,
Thor Mirchandani, Bryan Plaster, Don Reamey, P.G. Sarang, Dave Writz
Publisher : Wrox
Category : J2EE & Distributed Computing
Review by : Marcus Green - ranchHand, July 2001
Rating : 10 horseshoes
</pre>
Despite the size of the book, it covers so many technologies that it cannot be the authoritative reference on any of them. Thus if you want to become a real expert on J2EE then you need the Wrox Professional J2EE book, or if you want to become an expert on JSP Wrox have a big fat book on JSP (recently updated) . Don't buy it if you don't like large chunks of program code within the text, it is physically rather heavy to carry around.
Pros
High level coverage of a wide range of related Java technologies by people who appear to have actually worked with them on real world projects. The authors seem to have actually used the technologies in the real world rather than just read the documents and played with a few toy applications. It gives gives you enough to evaluate how and where you would use each of the technologies and examples of how people have used it in real projects.
Should you buy it?
If you want to be aware of what technologies are available and find out how they can be applied then this is an excellent buy. If you want to start to learn and implement any of the topics mentioned from scratch, you would be better off buying a book that caters specifically for that topic. I will post a more detailed review in the book review forum.
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
arch rival
Rancher

Joined: Sep 14, 1999
Posts: 2813
(That first message is just the summary, here is the never ending version)..
The Wrox approach to technical Books
The Wrox professional books are slightly more expensive than the average text book. The UK price of the Professional Java E-commerce book is �45.99, whereas I am used to paying something between �25 and �35. Now I own four of the Professional series I have come to the conclusion that they are well worth that little extra cost. They are more up to date and the authors seem to have actually used the tools in the real world.
The Audience for this Book
Java E-Commerce is aimed at people who already know Java and need to evaluate the technologies available. I first I wondered what the target audience would be, if you are a programmer you might not get to choose the technologies and if you are a manager you might not have the time or inclination to learn about these technologies in such depth. I now appreciate that they are appropriate for just about anyone except a beginner, most programmers need to know what technologies are available and managers need to know what the programmers are talking about.
How the book is organised
The book is divided into five sections starting with The E-commerce Landscape. This didn't tell me much I didn't already know, evolution of internet... exciting, define e-commerce....arpanet, web browsers etc etc. All scene setting stuff, but you can't have a fairy story without "once upon a time". Things get a little more interesting with Section 2, "Architecting Java Based e-commerce systems".
Some parts of the web world assume that "everyone uses Microsoft Internet Explorer". The authors of this book recognize that in the future your audience might well be WebTV, a mobile phone or pda. Although there is plenty of coverage of specific Java technologies such as EJB and Servlets the book recognises that most developments will have to fit in with legacy systems and that the heart of the task is to give the potential purchaser a usable and easy browsing experiences.
Much of the material covers topics I already knew about superficially. Some crucial aspects covered are EJB, XML and JMS. I was fairly stunned to note a mention of the Log4J technology from the Apache group. If you haven't come across Log4J, go to the Apache org web site and download it. I challenge anyone not to find a use for it in any non trivial application. Even allowing for the time it takes to put a book together this illustrates that the authors are right at the front of developing technologies, absorb what these people say, they know what they are talking about.
Plenty of XML Coverage
The topic of XML runs though large parts of the book. Chapter 16 gives an interesting overview of the emerging standards in XML dtd's. There are a raft of competing standards and the dust is yet to clear on which ones will be generally adopted. Chapter 13 has an in-depth discussion of an Intelligent Assistant, ie a natural language parser system to allow customers to interact with a virtual shop assistant. I thought this was interesting in an academic way but I suspect that the number of people who will actually adopt this technology would be very small indeed.
The Bits I enjoyed most
The part I enjoyed most was a part I thought I might not even get around to reading which was Chapter 23, "In the MarketPlace, Corporate Purchasing". This is written in a laconic style by people who obviously have plenty of real world experience. Mixed in with headings like " Characteristics of Corporate Purchasing Systems are titles like "The headaches of having more than one partner." At the end of this chapter are 4 case studies that made me smile for all the right reasons. I did my post graduate education in Software after I had a decade of experience in the industry. It used to annoy me that the lecturers insisted on describing an ideal world that I knew did not exist. I get annoyed by technical books that insist that by following their golden recipes everything will go perfectly. The 4 case studies illustrate that things rarely go to plan, frequently do not go as expected and sometimes have to use horrible solutions but can still solve the problems. If you are browsing your local book shop, pick up this book and jump to the end of chapter 23.
I try to read everything I can about emerging net and Java technologies but I learnt a whole slew of new things reading Java E-Commerce. Notably the nature of B2B technologies. I had rather foolishly assumed it was just more web applications where the person using the browser at one end was in a business and connecting to a server at another business. It actually refers to using web technologies to replace the automated EDI technologies that large corporations have been using for years.I found the topic of XSLT transformations fascinating in that it explains how to get around the incompatibilities between different forms of XML used by different companies. If two companies use different DTDs to structure their XML XSLT can be used to convert between the formats. Until I read that section I had thought of XSLT as a way of transforming XML into nicely formatted HTML.
I found the chapter on M-commerce (transactions via mobile devices) to be interesting as a primer on what can be done via mobile devices, but I suspect you could fit everyone who has ever placed an order via a mobile phone, in my living room and still have space for unexpected visitors.
Drawbacks
Despite the size of the book, it covers so many technologies that it cannot be the authoritative reference on any of them. Thus if you want to become a real expert on J2EE then you need the Wrox Professional J2EE book, or if you want to become an expert on JSP Wrox have a big fat book on JSP (recently updated) . Don't buy it if you don't like large chunks of program code within the text, it is physically rather heavy to carry around.
Pros
High level coverage of a wide range of related Java technologies by people who appear to have actually worked with them on real world projects. The authors seem to have actually used the technologies in the real world rather than just read the documents and played with a few toy applications. It gives gives you enough to evaluate how and where you would use each of the technologies and examples of how people have used it in real projects.
Should you buy it?
If you want to be aware of what technologies are available and find out how they can be applied then this is an excellent buy. If you want to start to learn and implement any of the topics mentioned from scratch, you would be better off buying a book that caters specifically for that topic.
Marcus

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