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on April 27, 2004
One thing is that you won't become a master of EJB after you read this book. But you won't become a master of anything just after reading a book. :-)
The book provides in-depth introduction on EJB and related topics, such as different types of enterprise beans (Session/Entity/MessageDrivenBean), how EJBObject (EJB container) interacts with the actual bean object (strategies of intercepting the request and delegation), CMP and BMP, etc. The author did excellent job on these topics.
The author also tries to cover some advanced topics and best practices, sadly, this is where the book lost its shine. Except chapter 10 about transaction is good, the rest of the chapters are either too basic (e.g. lazy loading, aggregation vs. composition, wrap entity beans with session beans etc.) or too shallow (e.g. clustering) to provide any practical values. Some chapters, in my opinion, even are unnecessary (e.g. chapter 15 "Starting Your EJB Project on the Right Foot" and chapter 16 "Choosing an EJB Server") They are more or less related to the develop process instead of EJB.
One particular pitfall is that bean inheritance topic is not touched at all. Though EJB specs does not specify on this area, any serious EJB projects would inevitably touch/involve it. At least, the author should shed some lights on the best practices related to this topic.
Overall, as an introductory level book, it serves its purpose.
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on October 8, 2003
I have come across very few technology books which could be categorized as both broad and deep, and this book is undoubtedly one.
The conversational style and well-organized presentation of this book makes it easy to read. This book contains a lot of best-practice guides and tech scenario analysis in addition to code examples and EJB details, it also lists a number of very helpful links on the net, it also lists down product websites for a host of specialized services, especially integration, this book really is a very valuable reference.
The only reason for not giving this book a 5-star is that not enough attention had been given to updating the code examples which came initially to work with WebLogic 6.1, along with the first edition of this book. I have used the first edition of this book to really get my hands dirty with EJBs, EJB 1.1 spec at that time, a lot of things have changed since, though this book covers all the new twists added in EJB 2.0 spec a lot of this edition is plain reproduction of first edition, and the code examples, don't get surprised if they need some tweaks before they start working.
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on September 18, 2003
(Editor has since rectified the WL6.1 problem.)
The book is understandable enough but he bases the downloadable code on WebLogic 6.1--and only 6.1. Well, that is no longer available. So, you will waste endless hours trying to figure out how to make even the simplest example run. This simple fact breaks every single one of the scripts. I was ready to pull my hair out. Why in the world doesn't he update the source code? It kills me. The book does not come with any CD and so you rely on the downloaded code examples. But they cannot be run unless you figure out what to change. It has driven me nuts. Until he updates the example source code to work with a server that is currently available, I would not recommend this book. You will get only an academic understanding of EJBs and--without practical experience--that's useless. He also way glosses over how to execute the test clients. When you examine the scripts they contain all kinds of security provisions that are ignored in the appendix. So, if you're trying to fend for yourself, you're hosed. I WISH I HADN'T BOUGHT THIS!
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on May 10, 2003
I own both this book and Richard Monson-Haefel's Enterprise JavaBeans (and others). Both are good, but this book reads much better--Monson-Haefel's book is a little dry doesn't tie stuff together as well. I use this book, along with The J2EE Tutorial from Sun, for a J2EE class I teach.
The book covers not only the core EJB features (EJBs, transactions, security, deployment/environment), but also has chapters on clustering, best practices, how to choose an app. server, and how to organize an EJB project team. None of these additional chapters goes deep into the subject, but each provides an excellent overview and introduction. Since these topics are often barely mentioned, the 100+ pages devoted to these subjects is a welcome addition.
The easy reading plus the breadth of coverage for related subjects makes this the BEST book for someone new or relatively new to EJBs.
Even if you have experience with EJBs, this book is still useful. The addtional subjects, particularly the best practices, can teach an old dog some new tricks. The clear explanations in the book even helped me to explain the subject better to my students.
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on August 18, 2002
This is definitely the best EJB book. I wish this were the only EJB book out there on the market so I could have avoid wasting time reading other EJB books before reading this one. For those who came from C background, you may find Ed Roman has the class of K&R and W. Richard Stevens (assume you have read <C Programming Language> (from K&R) and <Unix Network Programming> from Stevens), except the strong commercial flavor.
Although it is true that, as one of the review pointed out, some terminology is not used or explained accurately, they are not EJB specific terms but rather more general computer science terminology. So this is definitely a 5 star book of EJB, if not for overall computer science.
People may think this book does not provide deep enough view about Transaction. Actually, this book provides enough concise information about Transaction, as an EJB book. I had the experience of searching through pile of Oracle junks and did not find much helpful information that provided better or deeper view about Transaction than this book did.
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on August 8, 2002
I'm a software engineer, experienced with Java, server side programming and perf & scalability issues in general, and with both an academic and an industry background. New to EJB, which is why I read this book.
This book is actually 4 stars as an introductory book. It got me to up to speed with EJB, enough to understand it's programming paradigm fairly well. However, where I'm trying to go is to deeply understand perf. and scalability issues that will arise for large deployments (millions of users, for e.g) and exactly what EJBs offer in that area. Although clustering and transactions are discussed, the level of detail I need is greater - techniques for optimal caching are only skimmed, not thoroughly discussed. Additionally, one or more of the authors has this rather irritating habit of using the wrong terminology. Cases in point:
1) "The Halting Problem" of computer science is, rather cheekily exemplified by a program that blocks forever. Check it out for yourself from other sources - that is NOT the halting problem. It isnt that simple.
2) "Store and forward" is again, rather cheekily, described as "spool messages and send them when the queue comes back up". No, that is not what it is. Check it out for yourself from other sources. It is originally a networking term used in a different context. Simply because you are storing and forwarding doesnt mean you unilaterally christen your technique "store-and-forward", without investigating the original and well-known usage of the term.
3) "Reliability" in the term RAS (Reliability, Availability, Serviceability) is exemplified by - "if the simplest request takes 10ms to complete with one user, the system is reliable if the same request takes 10ms with 1,000,000 concurrent users.". That is NOT the definition of reliability. Reliability has more to do with fault detection and avoidance, not what is mentioned above, which seems more to do with throughput.
These are only a few of the incorrectly used terms. To most, I am only nitpicking. But for those who really want to go deep and do not want to waste 30-40% of their time reconciling terminologies, this is important. If the authors dispensed with trying to rename and falsely name common terms, their ideas would be communicated quicker, at least to audiences who are used to the well-known meanings of common terms.
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on April 1, 2002
This is one of those rare books that is equally beneficial both to readers who are brand new to the topic and readers with substantial experience in the topic. EJB is a very large and challenging topic to explain to beginning EJB developers. The authors do an excellent job of explaining the concepts in a very clear and well thought out manner. The book is very focused on those topics that are most important to the beginning EJB developer and clarifies them wonderfully. I believe individuals who have already been programming EJBs for a little while will also enjoy this book as a way to add depth and clarity to their EJB knowledge. The author's inter-mingle a substantial number of "best-practices," and advanced issues that will be very interesting to the new and old EJB developer.
If you have the time and patience to read a 1200 page book, "Professional EJB" by Wrox Press covers a lot more material and depth. However, if you don't have the time, patience, or desire to read a 1200 page book, this "Mastering EJBs" book is much more manageable and focused at 600 pages. The O'Reilly press "Enterprise Java Beans" book by Monson-Haefel is also quite good. However, like most O'Reilly books, I think it is actually too focused and doesn't provide a clear enough picture of how the whole EJB world fits together. So if you want a moderate size book with excellent explanations, good level of depth, and excellent insights, this book is it.
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on March 19, 2002
I browsed through various books on EJB's, and as expected, they all contain the same concepts and diagrams, as they are all based on the same J2EE specs; while some of them delved into the intricacies of a certain Application Servers(BEA's or IBM's), and other were Application Server independant, this book STANDS OUT between all of them.
This is a "HARDCORE" book on EJB's, it goes into the deepest details regarding EJB design like Clustering and Transaction issues while avoiding the pitfall of detailing a certain Application Server.It also has great introductory tutorials on other EJB issues like JNDI and CORBA-IIOP, where other books seem to fall short.
The other subject I found especially helpful was the best practices section, this shows that the authors have "on-hands" knowledge of builing EJB Systems, and gives you some incite on difficult to grasp concepts.
All in all, this book is centered on "the issues", not the hype or Application Server.
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on March 19, 2002
It is well-written, but does have gotchas. I read until chapter 4 and already stumbled on a non-trival error. Chapter 4 of the book illustrates the passivation/activation of SFSB with code (that explicitly states to run on Weblogic 6.1) But there is just no guaranteed way to FORCE a container to invoke ejbActivate()/ejbPassivate() calls. Book says so, on page 86, line#11: "It's up to the container to decide when passivation makes sense". I tried the code as it is, and even with various other deployment-descriptor settings on the recommended Weblogic 6.1 and just cannot get the container to generate the server-log showing passivate/activate calls like shown on book's page#99. The code and the server-log is certainly misleading to the reader giving an impression that we can code in such a way to make the container invoke activate()/passivate() calls, when in reality we just don't! Furthermore, the author(s) say they don't have time to address/respond to this glaring error, even when pointed!
Take away point: Just because it is well-written doesn't mean it is all correct.
And I hope J2EE spec addresses this hole, because no matter what code you have in ejbActivate()/ejbPassivate() methods, currently there is no way to write test-cases to test that!
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on January 15, 2004
This book is really very good in explaining EJB concepts. It is an excellent book for beginners. I got Enterprise Java Beans book from O'Reilly and felt it to be too advanced for beginners. But this book does a great job by explaining EJB concepts in a simple manner but still touching all concepts and gives us a big unterstanding about EJB.
Although the Weblogic version has changed after the book got published, it is not really hard to make the code run in the newer version of Weblogic. Infact I did not find any difference in deploying EJB in Weblogic 6.1 or 8.1. I used the weblogic server 6.1 workbook and went through it and did the same steps in Weblogic server 8.1 and was successful in running the code.
WARNING: Do not forget to check the book's errata while reading the book. There are some printing mistakes in the book.
So do not hesitate to buy this book just because the Weblogic server version has changed. This book is really good and I am enjoying it.
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