Book Review - Head First Servlets & JSP by Brian Basham, Kathy Sierra, and Bert Bates
Looking for either an enjoyable intro into JSP and Servlets or material on passing the Sun Certified Web Component Developer exam? Grab a copy of Head First Servlets & JSP by Bryan Basham, Kathy Sierra, and Bert Bates. It rocks...
Chapter list: Intro; Why use Servlets & JSPs; Web app architecture; Mini MVC tutorial; Being a servlet; Being a web app; Conversational state; Being a JSP; Script-free pages; Custom tags are powerful; When JSTL is not enough; Deploying your web app; Keep it secret, keep it safe; The power of filters; Enterprise design patterns; Final mock exam; Index
I've stated my preference in the past to learning subjects with a bit of humor thrown in. OK... a *lot* of humor. If I have a chance to pick up a new tech skill with a study guide that makes me laugh and stay interested, I'm in heaven. Is it any wonder then that I absolutely love the Head First series? Bates and Sierra have created a concept that is unlike anything else on the market. Through the use of cartoons, hand-drawn examples, off-beat questions, and other various types of learning material, they engage your brain on a number of levels. And as a result, you're sucked in and learning stuff in spite of yourself.
In this installment, they tackle the subject of servlets and JSPs. Rather than try and explain things "technically", they have a common cast of characters throughout the book making observations and points about the material. Using the hand-drawn notes around illustrations and code, you quickly understand the underlying concepts of what happens with servlet requests and responses, and how JSPs interact with the web server. And given that there are exercises and questions at the end of each chapter (along with the answers), you have a chance to reinforce your learning immediately.
There are two uses for this book. The primary goal is to help you pass the Sun Certified Web Component Developer exam. If you already know about servlets and JSPs, get the book for the mock exam and the questions at the end of each chapter. The authors helped write the actual Sun test, so you'll get a good feel for the types of questions you'll face. The other use of this book would be to learn and understand the subject matter, like a tutorial. Once again, an excellent choice for that purpose. You'll still need to get some sort of "official" reference book of some sort if you get deeper into the material, but this is a perfect way to get started.
Once again, another winner from the warped minds that created the Head First concept. May they continue to thrive for a long time!
(Besides, how can I not like a book that has quotes from Andrew Pollack and Joe Litton in the Praises section at the front of the book?)