Book Review: Murach’s Java Programming

I was contacted by the people at Murach Books inquiring if I would like to start reviewing their books. Being a geek, and an avid tech reader, of course I said yes. This will be my first review, and it’s my favorite language, so I was excited with what they sent….

Murach’s Java Programming 4th Edition

This book is great for people with some programming experience, that are new to Java. Murach goes from the basics of Java, starting with primitive datatypes, through the fundamentals of Object-Oriented programming, and into GUI programming (probably could have left this out). That was the first 17 chapters. This is no short book, definitely not a quick read.

Starting with chapter 18, the book moves past beginner-level topics. Murach gives a solid review of data access in Java. First with reading and writing from/to XML files. Then their is a chapter on database theory and working with the Derby database. From there you learn how to use JDBC to read and write to a database. The book wraps up by tackling Threading.

The only negative thing I can say about this book as I’m confused as to why the author chose to use the Netbeans IDE as his IDE of choice. Murach does a great job covering the ins and outs of working with Netbeans. Going as deep as how to use the debugger to step through code and fix bugs. I just feel that Eclipse / STS have such a massive share of the market the reader would be better served learning Eclipse alongside Java.

If you only plan to buy one book on Java SE, this is the book for you. Murach’s Java Programming covers it all.


Review of Spring Web Flow 2 Web Development

I was approached by one of the editors at Packt Publishing about doing a review of Spring Web Flow 2 Web Development.  I obviously said yes, the title of this post *is* “Review of Spring Web Flow 2 Web Development”  :)  Plus, I really don’t have much experience with Spring Web Flow 2 (SWF2) and felt doing the review made perfect sense.

For those of you that appreciate my short, don’t-hold-back, opinions, I’ll start there:

Spring Web Flow 2 Web Development is both a great “getting started” book for people wanting to learn SWF2 and serves as a good high-level “getting started” with web programming using Spring / Java EE.  Definitely worth the time and money.

Now my detailed review:

Again, I really liked how Spring Web Flow 2 Web Development serves as both a jump-start on SWF2 and also covers technologies outside of SWF (Spring Security, build tools, Apache Tiles, etc).  The book isn’t a detailed reference manual, that leaves you feeling you still don’t know how to use the technology, but gives the right amount of walk-through examples and framework documentation.

When finished with the book you will understand how to install SWF2, how to build and use the examples.  You will have numerous, feature-rich examples the authors build throughout the book.  You’ll know how to use SWF2 in a request-respone Spring MVC app and also with a JSF application.  You  get a solid tutorial on using Apache Tiles (kind of odd in a SWF book), a very detailed explanation of Spring Security and integrating Spring Security with SWF.  You also will understand how to test your flow definition and SWF application while also learning about EasyMock.

Here are my bulleted notes chapter by chapter:

ch 1:
Very short, brief intro to Spring Web Flow 2.
High level terms and definitions

ch 2 setup and example app:
install swf2
discuss the distribution
discuss the example apps and how to build from src
covers build systems (ant, mvn, ivy)
eclipse and spring ide
then a thorough example app
-flow definition
-service layer
-dao with jpa impl

ch 3
web flow documentation
detailed look at flow definition (.., scopes, states)
least favorite chapter
hard to read, not enough example tying concepts together

spring faces
starts with intro to jsf
I’m not interested in jsf

ch 5
sub flows – built on ch2 and ch3
spring javascript abstraction
oddly placed apache tiles tutorial for combining swf, spring js, and tiles
reference for web flow configuration

ch 6 testing swf apps
covers use of AbstractXmlFlowExecutionTests
short intro to EasyMock
tests subflows

ch 7
really good intro spring security
spring security and swf