Book Review: Java EE 5 Development using GlassFish Application Server by <i>David R. Heffelfinger</i>

Book Review: Java EE 5 Development using GlassFish Application Server by David R. Heffelfinger


The application server GlassFish supports all the most modern and juicy features of Java Enterprise Edition (EE), formally known as J2EE. Made by Sun, the server has a dual purpose as both the official application server reference for Java EE and as a viable and scalable piece of software that performs well under most conditions. David R. Heffelfinger's book "Java EE 5 Development using Glassfish", published by PACKT, follows both purposes by exploring the frameworks and the server deployment; thus the books details resonate vigorously with the spirit behind the tool.

The book's cover The book's cover

This is a thorough and well-executed book, not only detailing the full range of GlassFish features, but also delivering meaningful examples of the full Java EE stack. Finding both tracks fully supported was a pleasant surprise.

The contents

The book is 400 pages of honest and applicable content, and includes many screen grabs. Following an obvious and utilitarian trajectory, this well-rounded book delivers what its title promises. You will learn the installation and deployment of the application server from scratch, frameworks and more.

400 pages of honest and applicable content with many screen grabs included

The author details each of the main Java EE frameworks by code example and accurate, non-verbose explanations. From the necessary basics through JavaServer Pages(JSP), database contexts and onwards and upwards in the frameworks intellectual food chain. There was even room to introduce Java Server Faces JSF. The best description that I can think of is that JSF is almost a lightweight struts framework. The book also mentions the powerful concept of managed beans (page 180) which gives JSF greater flexibility than would have otherwise been possible.

As a hardened and somewhat stubborn Java developer with a very strong Tomcat bias, I was particularly interested in the detailing of the Java messaging Services (JMS) in chapter 7, security via realms in chapter 8 and Enterprise Java beans. These are the sort of technologies I normally do not get to deploy via the more limited Tomcat servlet container.

For the more adventurous, chapter 11 "Beyond Java EE" speedily mentions Facelets, Ajax4jsf and Seam.

Who's this book for?

I have to admit it: being a significantly biased web application developer myself, I can see many reasons to read this book. It's great, especially for those Java programmers who want to move upwards in the framework stack from basic Java standard edition programming (with perhaps extras like Struts), to programmers use and deployment of the full-blown Java Enterprise Edition stack. I did that myself a long time ago, honestly!

The effective use and deployment of security realms and Java messaging services has the potential to save a lot of programming time and thus worth additional exploration time.

The golden nugget on securing Web Services (p341) via modifying an applications web.xml file is certainly one of the most helpful hints I've ever received.

Relevance to free software

Is GlassFish totally open source? I do not 100% believe so. Will it be will fully be open source over the course of time? Judging by the blogs, the answer seems to be a resounding yes. However, there appear to some technicalities with classpath limitations

On a more positive note, the book itself is free software and Java supportive and mentions GlassFish, Java EE frameworks, Netbeans and a number of libraries from Jboss.

Pros

David R. Heffelfinger's book is a well-versed description of GlassFish as an application server. The book is also a whistle stop tour of Java Enterprise edition. The book is thorough and will help those who wish to learn both the frameworks and the maintenance of the server side.

Cons

If you want to buy a hamburger or intend to program PHP perhaps you should not read this book.

If you want to buy a hamburger or intend to program PHP perhaps you should not read this book

Book
Title Java EE 5 Development using GlassFish Application Server
Author David R. Heffelfinger
Publisher PACKT
ISBN 9781847192608
Year 2007
Pages 400
CD included No
FS Oriented 8
Overall score 9

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Biography

Alan Berg Bsc. MSc. PGCE, has been a lead developer at the Central Computer Services at the University of Amsterdam since 1998. In his spare time, he writes articles, book reviews and has authored three books. He has a degree, two masters and a teaching qualification. In previous incarnations, he was a technical writer, an Internet/Linux course writer, and a science teacher. He likes to get his hands dirty with the building and gluing of systems. He remains agile by playing computer games with his sons who (sadly) consistently beat him physically, mentally and morally at least twice in any given day.

You may contact him at reply.to.berg At chello.nl