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Java Extreme Programming Cookbook by Eric M. Burke and Brian M. Coyner

Book Review Team
Bartender

Joined: Feb 15, 2002
Posts: 936
<pre>Author/s : Eric M. Burke and Brian M. Coyner
Publisher : O'Reilly
Category : Miscellaneous Java
Review by : Jessica Sant
Rating : 7 horseshoes
</pre>
Java Extreme Programming Cookbook consists of a bunch of "recipes" for helping you to build and test Java programs through XP. Each recipe consists of a Problem, Solution, Discussion and a "See Also" pointer to where you can find more information about the topic. The recipes cover the following opensource technologies: Ant, JUnit, HTTPUnit, Mock Objects, Cactus, JUnitPerf and XDoclet.
Want define a classpath using Ant? Check out recipe 3.7. Wanna test a form in your web application? look at recipe 5.9. This book gives a bunch of good strategies to commonly encountered problems, but it's by no means a complete reference to the different technologies. But it will definitely get you started, and you'll be able to apply these different recipes to your own development environment.
The organization of the recipes and consistency between the chapters is where this book lost points in its rating. Want to know how to run JUnit with Ant? look in the Ant chapter. Want to know how to run HTTPUnit with Ant? Look in the HTTPUnit chapter. The Cactus chapter has a nice recipe about "When not to use Cactus" and the JUnitPerf chapter has a nice recipe about "When to use JUnitPerf" it would have been VERY helpful to have such sections for EACH technology discussed in the book, but alas the book is inconsistent.
Overall, I think this is a good book to jump-start you into an XP development environment using open source technologies.


More info at Amazon.com
More info at Amazon.co.uk
Matt Cao
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 03, 2003
Posts: 715
Hi,
I believe everything in life do have a balancing point. Before you emerge yourself to deep into Extreme Programming concept. I think you should take a moment to read into the following info.
Thanks,
MCao

Extreme Programming - An Alternative View
Ilja Preuss
author
Sheriff

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
Originally posted by Matt Cao:
I believe everything in life do have a balancing point. Before you emerge yourself to deep into Extreme Programming concept. I think you should take a moment to read into the following info.

Sadly, the authors [of the web articles] manage to badly misrepresent XP. A better source to "balance" your view probably would be Mc Breens "Questioning Extreme Programming".
[ June 24, 2003: Message edited by: Ilja Preuss ]

The soul is dyed the color of its thoughts. Think only on those things that are in line with your principles and can bear the light of day. The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you do is who you become. Your integrity is your destiny - it is the light that guides your way. - Heraclitus
Ilja Preuss
author
Sheriff

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
I would also like to add that XP is actually more about the team culture than a collection of techniques. What does the book tell about that?
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
You can ask the authors themselves. They will be here the week of May 13th.


Associate Instructor - Hofstra University
Amazon Top 750 reviewer - Blog - Unresolved References - Book Review Blog
Ilja Preuss
author
Sheriff

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
Oh, OK.
Of course *now* that I switched moderation from Process to UML, you are doing a promotion in the Process forum...
[ May 05, 2003: Message edited by: Ilja Preuss ]
Simon Brown
sharp shooter, and author
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Joined: May 10, 2000
Posts: 1913
    
    6
Just as a follow up, I posted a review on my blog, the text of which is as follows...

I've been reading this book for the past couple weeks and have to say that it's another great book from O'Reilly, although upon seeing the title I was slightly skeptical for a couple of reasons. First of all, I already have the Java Tools for XP book and secondly, the title is slightly misleading.
As regards the title of the book, I have the same complaint as the other book, namely that "XP" is unnecessarily used in the title. Since XP is currently a buzzword, I imagine that this was probably to attract a wider audience. Okay, some of the book does talk about XP and practices such as continuous testing and integration, but the book could have easily been titled "Java Open Source Tools Cookbook" because that's essentially what it is.
Title aside, the content of this book really shines through. Where the Java Tools for XP book talks about tools like JUnit, Ant, Tomcat, etc, this book provides recipes for using those tools, with each recipe addressing a particular problem. For example, there are recipes for building with Ant, testing classes, structuring tests, testing paths through web applications and so on. Imagine a design patterns book but with open source tools. Each problem is explained and followed up by a possible solution. The tools that are covered include all of the major open source offerings (Ant, JUnit, Tomcat, HttpUnit, Cactus, etc) in addition to some other tools such as JUnitPerf that many people may not have come across.
While you can read this book cover to cover, I feel that its real strength is as a reference book to be kept on your desk during development. Also, I think that there is something in this book for everybody. For example, although I've used many of these tools before, I still picked up quite a lot from this book, particularly around some of the less common JUnit functionality and the Ant recipes around automatically starting Tomcat and checking that it's running. Regardless of whether you are doing XP, I would recommend this book to anybody starting out with open source tools or using them from day to day on a project.
Book Review Team
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Joined: Feb 15, 2002
Posts: 936
<pre>
Review by : Frank Carver
Rating : 8 horseshoes

</pre>
This book covers a very similar selection of tools and techniques to "Java Tools for Extreme Programming" by Hightower and Lesiecki, and in a broadly similar way. Both use the currently fashionable idea of Extreme Programming (XP) to attract readers to a collection of short pieces about a bunch of useful tools for Java programming.
The XP stuff is covered quickly at the start, the meat of the book is in the "recipes", which walk you through configuring and using tools such as Ant, JUnit, Cactus etc. to build, unit-test and manage the development of a Java project.
The tools and tips the authors have chosen to include are a good representation of current practice, but I have a few reservations about the organization and structure of the book. My biggest worry is whether the target reader is actually likely to find many solutions. The authors seem to assume that everyone will pore over the several pages of "contents" at the front of the book every time they hit an obstacle, but in my experience they are just as likely to flip through pages or head for the index at the back, neither of which works particularly well. Worse than that, they may never think to look in the book in the first place - the "Extreme Programming" in the title may help it sell, but it's not something that jumps to mind when you are struggling to get Ant to deploy a web application to Tomcat.
[ October 23, 2003: Message edited by: Book Review Team ]
Al Newman
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Joined: Mar 30, 2003
Posts: 716
I've been using this book lately and have found it very useful. I'm not sure how many horseshoes it deserves, but some of the criticism seem a little unfair.
A book like this is best used in tandem with a good Ant book or two also on one's desk. I have a couple Ant books, and they seem to be short on on explanation of how to deploy related tools. This book provides much of the missing depth.
The book doesn't explain everything and seems a bit short on the Ant front. But it doesn't seem to aim to do everything. It fills it's niche as well as any book out there right now, and that is why I judge it relatively well.


SCJP1.4, SCWCD
 
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