Sunday, September 11, 2011

Java EE 6 Development with NetBeans 7

In any technical work, the author's primary problem is to target an audience, and to maintain that focus throughout. This is every bit as important as accuracy.

With the title of this book, you expect that the operational pieces in the Java EE 6 spec will be explained within the context of the Netbeans IDE. That's all well and good, but how much prior knowledge of both these Java standards should be assumed? Here one must avoid too many screenshots, with a singular focus on step-by-step procedure. At the same time, it must be assumed that a really seasoned developer is probably already familiar with Netbeans and would just want an in-depth focus on the somewhat newer Java EE 6 spec.

In view of this, some coverage of the UI of the IDE, with due attention given to the whys and wherefores of the Java EE 6 components, is in order. It's reasonable to expect an substantial audience for a practical guide that explains how this IDE can help a developer who wishes to stick with the facilities provided in the EE 6 spec. Additionally, one can expect the reader has a technical bent but could use help integrating the technologies in the Java spec. In other words, a reader in the moderate knowledge range.

So now I have to say that I'm a member of the above target audience, and I really liked this book.

I won't re-list the table of contents here, but I have to mention some highlights here. It's my opinion that JSF has evolved to the point where it is a serious contender; especially since PrimeFaces hit the scene. So I was really happy with chapters 4 and 5. It's wonderful to see such a concise Facelet template explanation. PrimeFaces is there because it is included with Netbeans 7. Although one sees a lot of Hibernate, it's cool to have JPA included- and the author sails right on into session beans. There is a great discussion of Web Services development to wrap up.

The book has a good selection of topics; and is approachable- but it isn't a lightweight in that it really explores, to some depth, what the current iteration of Java EE can do. After reading it, you definitely gain a new respect for Netbeans, too.

Don't expect coverage of things outside of Java EE 6 (except for PrimeFaces)- there is only so much room in one book. Given the title, this isn't a surprise or really a problem. Just be advised.

This book promises to be practical in approach; to integrate Java EE and Netbeans; to be concise and comprehensive; and for a wide range of developers. I think it pulls it off. I have to recommend this one.

Reviewed by: Kenneth Tindle

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Trend Stetting: Hail to the Editor in Chief

Regardless of your contribution to Barack Obama’s approval rating, you have to admit one thing: The man can give a speech. And to the delight of professional wordslingers the world over, toiling under deadlines and character counts, he tends to write much of each address himself (like another fellow who’s spent some time on Pennsylvania Avenue used to say, he “feels our pain”).

To figure out why the 44th president’s speeches have such an explosive impact on listeners across the party spectrum, seasoned political analysts Mary Frances Berry and Josh Gottheimer tackled the impressive task of parsing his language. Their forthcoming book, Power in Words, walks us slowly through 18 of candidate Obama’s major addresses during his ascent to the White House.

It’s a fairly wonky read, as you’d imagine, with plenty of citations and endnotes and an occasionally excruciating level of detail: “After a few days in the country spent traveling with a twelve-car motorcade, Obama and his entourage flew to the rural area of Kolego in the Siaya District of Nyanza Province, about 175 miles east of Nairobi.” But Berry and Gottheimer temper their academic approach with lively anecdotes about backstage tension and last-minute rewrites, as well as insight into the symbiotic relationship between Obama and his head speechwriter, Jon Favreau (not the guy behind Cowboys & Aliens—look for his younger, prettier Googleganger).

Here’s what I learned from their efforts: The president’s political savvy and famous preacherlike cadence play a big role in his ability to stun a crowd, but delivery only goes as far as what’s in the package. Berry and Gottheimer close every chapter with the full text of the speech they’ve just analyzed, and the placement is apt. It drives home the force of the words themselves—clean and precise and startlingly emotional, even on a two-dimensional page. You may or may not agree with them, but they’re impossible to ignore.
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