Professional Java Server Programming: with Servlets, JavaServer Pages (JSP), XML, Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB), JNDI, CORBA, Jini and Javaspaces

Author Various
Publisher Wrox Press Inc
ISBN 1-861-00277-7
Experience level Intermediate - Expert

When it comes to the authoritative reference for server-side Java development, you can't go past Professional Java Server Programming. This hefty tome weighs in at a massive 1100+ pages, far more material than would normally be expected for a book of its price. So what do you get for your money?

Well, this is more than just a book on a single Java technology, like Servlets or JavaServer Pages (JSP). With contributions from fifteen (15) authors, you've got the most comprehensive guide to Java server technologies, as well as related topics like XML, CORBA, Jini and JDBC, as well as sections on the new Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) and Enterprise JavaBeans (EJBs). It covers the entire gamut of server-side programming, linking one technology to the next. If you're in a hurry, you won't want to read the book cover to cover. Instead, you can jump right in to the technologies you're interested, picking and choosing as you please. This approach works well, and is an important decision for commercial developers working to a schedule. It's a big book, but it's easy to select the sections you need, as you need them.

Like many books of its type, there's plenty of examples, but the authors strike a good balance between theory and practical applications. Unlike most books on server-side programming, there's also case studies for different technologies. I particularly liked this feature - it's something that is generally lacking from most books. Whether you're a fan of case studies or not is really a personal preference, but I found it a refreshing change and one that I believe many developers and managers will likewise welcome.

The writing style is very good, though you'll notice a difference from chapter to chapter as many authors contributed to the book. As far as length goes, 1100+ makes for a long title, but chapters need not be read sequentially to understand the various technologies involved, and it's fairly good value for such coverage. Some readers might prefer an introductory book on servlets (a good idea if you're only interested in small scale web development), but when it comes to coverage of all aspects of advanced server-side programming,  Professional Java Server Programming beats other titles hands down.