Which JSP book serves up the best lesson?

Choosing the best resource for learning JavaServer Pages

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About a third of the way into the book, the focus seems to change from teaching the reader JavaServer Pages to showing how he or she can use it: from architecting a Web application that uses JSP, JavaBeans, and servlets to several case studies that utilize the different components of J2EE. Unlike Instant JavaServer Pages, where the Web applications were small-scale apps, you can easily plug into an existing environment. The case studies look into some serious large-scale enterprise solutions, some going from design through implementation. The different case studies discuss some of the other Java APIs and third-party products such as those that serve images through JSP pages, using JNDI and EJB, and working with the iPlanet server instead of Tomcat. There are even case studies on streaming data with JSP, working with the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) to serve JSP pages to devices other than a browser, and porting your ASP Website to JSP.

Which book should you buy?

For the right audience, you can't go wrong with most of those books.

I see JavaServer Pages primarily for the frontend developer, not for the Java programmer. While some things practically require Java code within the JSP page, the amount should be minimized. You shouldn't need to be a Java developer to create JSP pages.

With that said, for both the Web designer and the Java developer interested in picking up JSP skills, I think Web Development with JavaServer Pages from Manning Publications is the best offering, head and shoulders above the rest. It provides excellent insight into where to put what and how to put it there. None of the other JSP books offer the same depth of coverage on the different JSP topics.

Pure JSP: Java Server Pagesis a great, inexpensive quick start to JSP, though once you start using JSP seriously, you'll need something more substantial. Hall's Core Servlets and JavaServer Pages is fine for those interested in starting to develop servlets and who also want to pick up some JSP knowledge. If you are an ASP developer, you'll like the extra help in Professional JSP. If Instant JavaServer Pages wasn't based on the JSP 1.0 specification, I would like it more; however, it does include some nice pluggable JSP Web applications you can incorporate right into any Website.

John Zukowskiis the content czar at jGuru.com and author of John Zukowski's Definitive Guide to Swing for Java 2 from Apress!, Mastering Java 2 from Sybex, and Java AWT Reference from O'Reilly and Associates, as well as the Focus on Java guide at About.com.

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