on March 15, 2004
What a good book this might have been. It isn't an awful book but it could have been so much better. The premise of the book is to take the "Pet Store" and improve it by using several open source tools. The first part of the book discusses each of the tools with brief explanations and sample code. The second part takes us through the development process showing how to use the tools that were discussed earlier.
The good parts of the book are mostly in the second half. The authors apply each of the tools, explain test-driven development, demonstrate how and when to refactor code, etc. The integration of the different tools is made naturally so that it doesn't seem that the authors are trying to squeeze a tool in just to demonstrate it. The bad parts: this book desperately needs editing, both technical and for grammar. It is very distracting to see so much improper English usage including run on sentences, sentence fragments, and noun-verb disagreement. On the technical side, there are so many errors in the code that I doubt very much will actually compile, let alone run. Typical errors include methods declaring to return a value and not returning anything, closing files before they are used, and using variables that are not declared.
If you are interested in the technologies discussed and can debug the code in the book, there is a good amount of value. But it could have been so much better.
on November 30, 2003
While I'm sure given there will be a real 5 star love-fest here, on serverside.com, javablogs, et al, this book lacks the "quality without a name" I'd expect from the authors.
Example: the grammer in the first sentence of the first chapter is off. Surely a few people read the sentence? Second example, the code on page 24 (the jUnit chapter no less!!) obviously would not compile. There are many other examples of outright errors, and it's too bad some newcomers to Java and/or these tools will be left scratching their heads. Blame this on the editors all you like, but at the end of the day I found it incredibly annoying.
Add to this a Hibernate chapter that is littered with either awkward or poor grammer (was the primary author not an English speaker?), and a sort of smug undertone throughout the book (at one point in the jUnit chapter, they say of the api "Be thankful there's not a lot to learn." Guess what guys? There are plenty of people who are just as smart as you are).
More often than once, this book reminded me of the opensymphony project, some components of which are used in the book: some good ideas, some great, but a lack of attention to detail and unnecessary condescension.
The other problem with the book is the content, although it's a much less significant problem than the poor writing. While the content is pretty good, there's nothing here that's not in the docs for each project already, and Kent Beck's Test Driven Development is a much more lucid explanation of that topic.
As far as petsoar, the app they develop at the end of the book, goes...*yawn*.
I expected more...