Saturday, January 26, 2013

Reading "Backtrack 5 Cookbook"

Last year I read the book "BackTrack 4: Assuring Security by Penetration Testing", it was an eye-opener.  I hadn't heard of "BackTrack" before, the idea of a whole Linux distribution full of security penetration tools was something I never knew existed.  I learned some valuable things about security from that book.

Time has gone on, and BackTrack has added to it's capabilities.  Packt has kindly provided a book that explains what's new, including what appears to be some neat chapters on Wireless networking and Voice Over IP.  I'm curious about those, it should be an interesting read.

The book is described here.

Watch this space for a review soon!

Happy (secure) computing!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Book Review for "Java EE Development with Eclipse"

The purpose of this book is to teach the reader how to develop for the JEE platform using the popular Eclipse development IDE.  The book is a series of chapters that are focused on particular types of JEE components.

 The authors have chosen topics well:

EJB 3.0 Database Persistence
O/X Mapping with JAXB 2.x
JSF Data Table
Templating with Facelets
Apache Trinidad

That's quite a laundry list, though it's not all the JEE platform has to offer.  Still, some of these are very compelling technologies and many are not well covered elsewhere.  All in all,  I liked the choices the authors made in what to cover and what to leave out.

For each of those components, the book mostly uses a standard formula in building a chapter:
Setting the Environment-  Here's where you are told about additional .jars or other dependencies you'll need.
New Project- The authors explain how to start building out the proper type of Eclipse project for your needs.
Coding- Adding content to the project.
Packaging, Deploying-  How you package and run your new (small and focused) application. 
Testing- How to invoke the component you've just produced.

I thought the chapter formula worked well.  The chapters don't contain a lot of background or theory, but you do get very clear step-by-step instructions on how to develop the artifact under discussion.  The instructions include code artifacts, XML files, etc. in their entirety-- if you follow the instructions, there is little chance you won't be successful.

One thing I often want for in technical books is increased illustration.  This is not a complaint here!  The authors have provided many screenshots of the Eclipse pages you'll be dealing with.  Again-- there are not a lot of architectural overview diagrams.  There are screen shots aplenty.

The book deals with Oracle products.  The application server is WebLogic, Oracle products are referenced frequently.  This does affect the portability of the solutions, but users of other products (i.e. JBoss, WebSphere, etc.) should be able to get by with occasional adjustments.  (Thanks, JEE standards!)

Here's a summary of the high points and low points:

Well illustrated.  A picture tells a thousand words.
Covers instructions well at a very basic level.
Good choice of technologies highlighted.

A bit dated.

The verdict:  A good book for anyone that wants explicit instructions on how to build a project of the covered types in Eclipse.  Not everybody will need to read every chapter, and not every question is answered about why something should be done.  But if you are a hands-on learner, this book will give you plenty of clear guidance about how to build JEE components.

The book can be found here.

Happy Reading and Coding!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Review In Progress for JEE with Eclipse Book

JEE is a wide topic.  I work with Enterprise Java every working day, but I'm not ashamed to admit I actively look for ways to better understand JEE and how it can be exploited.

To that end, I'll be exploring a new book from Packt Publishing entitled "Java EE Development with Eclipse".  

The book looks interesting.  It doesn't look like it's trying to cover the whole spectrum of JEE development, but it is covering some widely used and interesting parts.  (i.e. AJAX, JasperReports, Spring on JEE, JAXB 2.0 all get chapters).

If you're interested already, you can learn more about the book at this link.

I'll give this book a read and will post a review after.

Happy New Year!