Book Reviews – 2 for The Enterprise

Here are two books for Enterprise Devlopment that take entirely different tacks. Scott Amblers The Object Primer is subtitled Agile model-driven development with UML 2 . But if you are looking for a detailed update on UML 2 , this is not the place. Rather, look at another book Scott co-wrote, The Elements of Java Style for a reference to what you get in Object Primer. It is a primer, a ” getting started” (or restarted) in the rapidly evolving field of n-tier OO development. In this book there is a welcome emphasis on things implied but often never fully stated in development texts. Communication with all the stakeholders is vital. Talk and communicate with diagrams , and concepts, and an understanding of their business. Because the ever changing needs of the business will drive the requirements and therefore the design of the system. Listen to the admonitions : “Get active stakeholder participation; Use the simplest tools; Model with others; Prove it with code; Model in small increments; Maintain collective ownership; Display models publicly; Always consider testability.”

This is not rocket science – this is human science applied to system development. This book mixes one part tough acquired design and development skills with one part project leadership and change management in the fullest sense of the words mapped onto OO-based development. It is the realization that changing systems also change how information flows and how the organization is managed. And that process is as much political as it is technical. Agile Methods are to planning as Extreme Programming is to coding/testing and deployment – its all about maximizing return on design . If you cant get your hands on the book do check out the website – its chock full of good material on Agile Methods.

Core Servlets and JavaServer Pages by Marty Hall and Larry Brown swings the pendulum back over to technical detail. But in this fast changing arena, that is more than welcome. The first three chapters of the book are devoted to getting started. Installing the servers – Tomcat 4 or 5,(Open Source Freeware) Macromedias JRun 4 (the free developer edition is fully functional but limited to less than half a dozen processes ) and Caucho Resin and basic servlets are carefully covered. And in the world of Java Servlets and JSP this is the perfect approach – 90 pages of the basics because each web server has its own specific development and deployment requirements. Sure the syntax and APIs for Servlets and JSP are the same – but the devil is in the deployment details.

However Marty and Larry have the pace right and also the lay of the servlet and JSP land. Each chapter fans out carefully from the preceding with one simple instructional example and then a few more pragmatic coding examples. Readers progress from servlets cookies and session tracking to JSP exprssions, scriptlets and page directives. Then users get to see the trade-offs between include files, JavaBeans and tag libraries. There are special chapters on EL-Expression Language plus JDBC database connections. And there is a second volume for advanced topics such as usage of JSTL, Struts, and critical security methods. Finally, to go with the book there is a website chock full of sample code, tips and other resources. For getting up to speed in Servlets and JSP, start here.