Book Review: Java EE 6 Cookbook for Securing, Tuning, and Extending Enterprise Applications

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  • Not Your Typical Java EE Book - Java EE 6 Cookbook for Securing, Tuning, and Extending Enterprise Applications is not the typical Java EE book. Although it does provide coverage of core new features of Java EE 6 in its early chapters, its focus is generally on use of tools and scripts to do exactly what the title describes: secure, tune, and extend Java EE-based enterprise applications. This is not the book one learns about the basics of EJBs, servlets, JavaServer Faces, JMS, or other Java EE technologies. In my opinion, this is a good thing and is what perhaps separates this book most from other Java EE 6 books.
  • Name Dropping - One of my favorite aspects of Java EE 6 Cookbook for Securing, Tuning, and Extending Enterprise Applications is its broad coverage of interesting and useful tools used in Enterprise Java development and production. This book does more than just drop the names. It provides summaries of what each tool offers and shows realistic and meaningful uses of that tool for improving the enterprise development experience. I tried to reference several of this book's referenced tools in this post to provide a flavor of its breadth of coverage of tools. The recipes each end with a list of references for additional information on the tools discussed in that recipe.
  • Use of Groovy - Although Java EE 6 Cookbook for Securing, Tuning, and Extending Enterprise Applications features numerous tools and techniques, I think its coverage of Groovy is particularly well done and provides solid examples of how Groovy can improve the Java developer's ability to write scripts.
  • Different Operating Systems - I liked that this book generally focuses on solutions and tools that apply to many major operating systems and often provides specific details on use of a recipe on each of these different operating systems.
  • Lots of Pictures - In keeping with something I've come to expect in Packt Publishing books, this book continues the trend of featuring numerous screen snapshots to illustrate points.
  • Repetition - Several closely related recipes include similar or even identical text to one another. For the typical reader of a cookbook or recipe-oriented book, this is welcome because it can be distracting and even irritating to be referred to a separate recipe if one is only interested in how to accomplish a single recipe. I read the book from cover to cover rather than focusing on particular individual recipes as they interested me and so was more cognizant of the occasional repeated text.
  • Different Backgrounds - One of the challenges facing the author of Java EE 6 Cookbook for Securing, Tuning, and Extending Enterprise Applications must have been addressing his audience at the appropriate level. I think most chapters and recipes deliver well on this, providing enough information to introduce the reader to useful tools and approaches for working with Java EE applications and only relying only minimal knowledge of Java EE. The one exception to this is Chapter 2, which I feel assumes quite a bit of JPA-specific knowledge to be appreciated. The good news is that, in the tradition of recipe-oriented books, understanding of Chapter 2 is generally (with a few exceptions) not required for appreciating the other chapters. Chapters 7 and 8, on the other hand, might be as useful to Java EE developers as they are to Java EE developers.
  • Typos, Editing, and Formatting - I reviewed an electronic (PDF) version of Java EE 6 Cookbook for Securing, Tuning, and Extending Enterprise Applications and do not know if the printed version has the same typo and editing issues that I occasionally saw in the PDF version. At times, the PDF version of the book feels like it missed a final edit. In general, these are only slightly distracting and rarely provide any significant distraction.

The Target Audience

The "Who this book is for" section of the Preface of Java EE 6 Cookbook for Securing, Tuning, and Extending Enterprise Applications states, "This book is aimed at Java developers and programmers who want to secure, tune, and extend their Java EE applications." This articulates well the primary audience for this book, though I think that Java SE developers could benefit from several of the recipes and chapters in this book as well.

The "What you need for this book" section of the Preface also says of the book's audience, "The recipes in this book are of an intermediate to advance nature, so a good understanding of Java is required." The book definitely assumes basic familiarity with Java (SE and EE), but some recipes require this experience more than others.

Idea Generation

For me, the best thing about Java EE 6 Cookbook for Securing, Tuning, and Extending Enterprise Applications is its introduction to a wide variety of topics, tools, and ideas. Even recipes that I might have no direct use for at this time provide value because they demonstrate use of tools for accomplishing various administrative tasks. I found myself thinking of related but different uses for some of the tools and approaches discussed in this book.

Related Links (External Sites)

The following are some other sources of information about the book Java EE 6 Cookbook for Securing, Tuning, and Extending Enterprise Applications.

Original posting available at http://marxsoftware.blogspot.com/ (Inspired by Actual Events)

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