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Better Faster Lighter Java by Bruce A. Tate, Justin Gehtland

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<pre>Author/s : Bruce A. Tate, Justin Gehtland
Publisher : O'Reilly
Category : Advanced Java
Review by : Valentin Crettaz
Rating : 9 horseshoes
</pre>
Next year, Java will finally get a second digit in its age. Over the past 10 years, Java has become one of the most popular language on earth. Popularity is usually a positive sign but it often hides a double-edged sword as an ever increasing indigestible amalgam of (*cough* reusable *cough*) Java libraries/frameworks flood developers everyday. No one will argue that it becomes increasingly difficult to make the right decisions when it comes to choosing existing libraries/frameworks for developing new products and/or refactoring older ones.

Don't worry, you are not alone. Bruce Tate and Justin Gehtland have made a tremendous effort of popularizing some fundamental principles that, when applied consistently, can considerably ease your life. They introduce the following basic principles: "Keep it simple", "Do one thing and do it well", "Strive for transparency", "You are what you eat" and "Allow for extension". They also show how two famous open-source frameworks, Spring and Hibernate, elegantly apply these five principles. Finally, they take their own "better-faster-lighter-java" medication by applying it on the Simple Spider project and show how the latter can easily be integrated into the infamous jPetStore application.

I definitely enjoyed reading this book even though it is not necessarily about pure coding. However, I would like to warn entry-level programmers as they might not enjoy the occasional philosophical tone. As well, they might not have had the chance to be frustrated yet which is THE assumption the authors make.


More info at Amazon.com
More info at Amazon.co.uk
Mark Spritzler
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    6

Thanks Valentin for this review. I am currently reading this book myself too. I think it is an amazing book, and I am really glad to see books on this type of subject touting the design principles and architectural decisions that need to be made on every project. Keep it simple has been my motto for years now, and to see more and more of it written will help out community out.

I am going to post a review of the book too, when I finish, and so far it has been on a 10 horseshoes pace for me.

I think this is a must read for everyone. Even if you use that other OO language by that monopoly company.

Mark
Mark


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Junilu Lacar
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    6

There have been some 1-star ratings of it on Amazon so I'm wondering if those folks just had the wrong expectations.


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Don Stadler
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This book wasnt' exactly what I was expecting. It was much less of a technical 'how-to' book and much more of a manifesto on how and what to do with Java. So I'm not surprised that the ratings diverge a lot. This is the kind of book which will receive both 5-star and 1-star ratings.
Mark Spritzler
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    6

Exactly, the ones that posted the one starts probably thought this was an effective java book with examples on how to use Strings better, or how to code your own Enum. But that is not at all what this book is about.

This book is about a paradigm shift in how we think about coding our application. Removing our use the Golden Hammer on everything approach. Make things simpler.

It is this kind of book that the development world really needs and needs to read.

[SOAPBOX]
And in my opinion, if you don't it is because you are egotistical and think that you are always right. Well for those people I'd say you are doomed to repeat your failures, and I can guarantee that you have had them, even though publicly you deny those charges.
[/SOAPBOX]

Mark
[ August 22, 2004: Message edited by: Mark Spritzler ]
Lasse Koskela
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    5
Don't people read the back cover of a book before buying?


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Don Stadler
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Lasse, I pre-ordered it on amazon.co.uk. So the answer is no I didn't read the back cover!

I think it is a great book, BTW. Just not exactly what I was expecting. I thought there would be more than a chapter each on Hibernate and Spring, for one thing.
Ko Ko Naing
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Originally posted by Lasse Koskela:
Don't people read the back cover of a book before buying?


I always do this, whenever I buy a book... Actually I do more than that before buying a book: let the sales open the package(if it's possible for them), find the reviews on the book as much as I can...

So I always liked the books that I bought...


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Lasse Koskela
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    5
Don, the pre-ordering thing is indeed a good excuse for not reading the backcover

Originally posted by Ko Ko Naing:
let the sales open the package(if it's possible for them)

What package?
Peter den Haan
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Yes, it's a manifesto more than an in-depth technical book, and it's full of good insights. As such it's great to see this book on the market and it deserves to be read widely. (Disclosure #1: I've been working intensively with the "better faster lighter" Spring/Hibernate stack for the best part of a year and think it's the bees knees).

I do, however, think that this manifesto been written at least as well by Rod Johnson in his classic J2EE 1-on-1 and (with Juergen Hoeller) J2EE without EJB books. (Disclosure #2: I was one of the tech reviewers for the latter). And with a bit more technical meat to satisfy you.

If you are professionally involved in any kind of J2EE development, though, do yourself a big favour and read all three. I promise that the investment will repay itself many times over.

- Peter
[ August 23, 2004: Message edited by: Peter den Haan ]
Ko Ko Naing
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Originally posted by Lasse Koskela:
What package?


The plastic that packs the book to prevent from dust or to prevent from being old on the shelf...

Mmm, I'm not that sure whether it is called as package or sthing...
Lasse Koskela
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    5
Originally posted by Ko Ko Naing:
The plastic that packs the book to prevent from dust or to prevent from being old on the shelf...

Oh. We don't have that kind of plastic wrapper in local bookstores.
Ko Ko Naing
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Originally posted by Lasse Koskela:

Oh. We don't have that kind of plastic wrapper in local bookstores.


Oh! Really? Then you can skim through the topics inside the books as much as you can...

The bookstores in Thailand wraps the book with such plastic... If I want to have a look, I do need to inform the salesperson to open it up... Even worse, some bookstores don't let us open it... In that case, I have to read the reviews online and see the front and back cover to make sure that the contents in the book will satisfy my need...
Mark Spritzler
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    6

Originally posted by Ko Ko Naing:


Oh! Really? Then you can skim through the topics inside the books as much as you can...

The bookstores in Thailand wraps the book with such plastic... If I want to have a look, I do need to inform the salesperson to open it up... Even worse, some bookstores don't let us open it... In that case, I have to read the reviews online and see the front and back cover to make sure that the contents in the book will satisfy my need...



What a bummer.

Mark
Dirk Schreckmann
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Continuing this orthogonal conversation...

My local Barnes and Noble bookstore has a Starbucks Coffee shop inside, with tables, at which folks sit with (unpurchased) books from the bookshelves and "preview" them at leisure (sometimes for many hours).
[ August 25, 2004: Message edited by: Dirk Schreckmann ]

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Axel Janssen
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In my city one bookstore has comfortable sofas for test reading.
The air is quite dry, though, and I've allways get tired after half an hour.
[ August 25, 2004: Message edited by: Axel Janssen ]
Helen Thomas
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At Starbucks you can use WiFi to browse the net for info.
( I believe: I haven't noticed customers using their laptops in Starbucks.)
Good company, they actively support Third World Development through fair coffee trade schemes.
[ August 25, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]

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Lasse Koskela
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    5
Originally posted by Axel Janssen:
The air is quite dry, though, and I've allways get tired after half an hour.
Hmm. I wonder why is that
Ko Ko Naing
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Originally posted by Axel Janssen:
In my city one bookstore has comfortable sofas for test reading.
The air is quite dry, though, and I've allways get tired after half an hour.

[ August 25, 2004: Message edited by: Axel Janssen ]


Originally posted by Dirk Schreckmann:
My local Barnes and Noble bookstore has a Starbucks Coffee shop inside, with tables, at which folks sit with (unpurchased) books from the bookshelves and "preview" them at leisure (sometimes for many hours).


As for local bookstores here in Thailand, don't even talk about sofas or Starbucks Coffee, they don't even provide a normal chair... Moreover most books are wrapped by plastic as I mentioned before to Lasse...

If we let them open the plastic wrappers, it is most likely that we have to buy that book, except the case that the book got physical damage in some pages...

Too bad...
Helen Thomas
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So you have a choice of dry air to preserve the condition of books or plastic wrappers.

I should think it would be impossible to dry the air in Thailand's Equatorial climate.
Pradeep bhatt
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Originally posted by Ko Ko Naing:


As for local bookstores here in Thailand, don't even talk about sofas or Starbucks Coffee, they don't even provide a normal chair... Moreover most books are wrapped by plastic as I mentioned before to Lasse...

If we let them open the plastic wrappers, it is most likely that we have to buy that book, except the case that the book got physical damage in some pages...

Too bad...



Forget chair, it is very difficult to enter a book shop in Bangalore.
There are no plastic covers for the book though.


Groovy
Ko Ko Naing
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Originally posted by Pradeep Bhat:
Forget chair, it is very difficult to enter a book shop in Bangalore.


Why?
Pradeep bhatt
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Originally posted by Ko Ko Naing:


Why?


Too many people.
Mark Spritzler
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    6

OK, don't you think we are hijacking this thread a bit too far now?

This thread is about an amazing book that everyone should read.

Mark
Valentin Crettaz
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Originally posted by Mark Spritzler:
OK, don't you think we are hijacking this thread a bit too far now?

This thread is about an amazing book that everyone should read.

Mark


Thanks Mark. You said it all!!


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Michael Moser
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I appreciate what the authors of this book seem to be attempting to do with trying to simplify approaches and tools for enterprise development when you can. I look forward to reading it. However, my management has bought tools that buy into the heavyweight approach and dont seem to trust the open source and lighter approaches basically because the tools they bought dont support them well out of the box. They dont want to spend money on tools that end up not being used as advetised and (in their minds) waste time and money while I learn the open source or how to integrate them into their tools. Any comments from the authors?
Mark Spritzler
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    6

Well, not a comment for an author, but open source stuff is free, why should management be upset about using something free. Well except that it makes them look bad, but heck they are the <insert word here> ones to pick an expensive heavy duty product.

I can't think of any heavy duty tool out there, that open source prjects like Hibernate, XDoclet, etc, can't work with.

Mark

p.s I just realized that I never posted my review here.
Valentin Crettaz
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Well, not a comment for an author, but open source stuff is free, why should management be upset about using something free

Because when something is free it usually means there is no "official" support in which you can spend an insane amount of money in consulting services. Exception: JBoss Inc.
Mark Spritzler
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    6

Originally posted by Valentin Crettaz:
Well, not a comment for an author, but open source stuff is free, why should management be upset about using something free

Because when something is free it usually means there is no "official" support in which you can spend an insane amount of money in consulting services. Exception: JBoss Inc.


That's my favorite part, Sorry I don't think I gave you enough money for just the software, so let me give you even more so that you can support it, because it doesn't work and therefore I need support all the time.

Mark
Valentin Crettaz
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That's the sad truth unfortunately... but that's how, we consultant, make a decent living At the end of the day, it all comes down to ethical matters anyway... Or *should* come down to ethical matters at least even if the reality is different, which it is for sure...
[ October 17, 2004: Message edited by: Valentin Crettaz ]
 
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