Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Book Review: Java EE6 Pocket Guide by Arun Gupta

A good programming book should cover three things: what the technology is, how the technology is used, and the why of the "what" and "how". As a pocket guide, Arun Gupta's Java EE 6 Pocket Guide could never have been more than just a brief overview on what is a sizable and extensive framework, the book does admirably in condensing down key features explaining what they are as well as demonstrations of their basic use. Gupta writes with clarity and with understanding.

The lack of depth does start to show with the illustrations of examples. They are merely snapshots of the various components in action. Combined with the well-written explanations, this might constitute a sufficient overview for someone trying to make sense of unfamiliar code (we've all been there), but it would be hard to see the practicality of such examples beyond that.

To give an indication of the content, I'll summarise one section where I'm quite familiar with the API (EJB). The Stateful Session Beans, it first gives a brief overview of what they are, then drops into a coding example of how to define them. Then there's another paragraph that goes through the relevant points from the code. After which there's further highlighting of other relevant annotations, then how to access them from the client.

The two areas I could see this book being useful is first for people who are trying to come at a Java EE system without prior familiarity with the language. Java developers making the professional crossover would fit into this category. This could also apply for people familiar with some aspects of the Java EE architecture who are needing to venture into unfamiliar territory. The other area would be as a cheat sheet for Java EE for those not wanting to rely on Google to get specific information on specific components.

This book will not teach you Java EE, but it will help those looking for a nice practical overview of unfamiliar features. And as a reference guide, it might be helpful for quick information about specific features written in an accessible and no-nonsense way.

This book was given freely as part of the O'Reilly Reader Review Program. The book can be purchased here.

No comments: