August 16, 2011

Review - Java EE 6 Development with NetBeans 7

Finally I finished reading the Java EE 6 Development with NetBeans 7 book, reading some chapters in detail and skimming other chapters. Lots of screenshots and pictures make it easy to grasp the content and there are plenty of them in this book.

Netbeans 7 is a very sophisticated IDE supporting many languages. Java EE 6 is latest set of standards which aims at developer productivity plus having all the great things from different well established frameworks. Netbeans 7 + Java EE 6 makes a lethal combination.

This is an excellent book for folks who want to use Netbeans 7 IDE to do enterprise Java development work. The book is written keeping in mind developers who are new or less experienced with Netbeans 7 IDE.

This book contains 11 chapters.

The first chapter is targeted for novice Netbeans users, downloading and installing on different platforms. Experienced users can safely skip this section."NetBeans tips for effective development" is an useful section in this chapter; both for beginners as well as experienced Netbeans user.

Creating jsps, servlets, jspf are a breeze in Netbeans 7 using the GUI tools. The basics of this are covered in the second chapter. A good section on securing webapps, with different types of authentication supported for webapps is neatly covered.

Enhancing JSP Functionality with JSTL and Custom Tags chapter is an easy read. This chapter covers the basic of JSTL with sample examples. It also covers the CRUD operations using SQL JSTL tags (important for throwaway prototypes and quick development of DB apps).

Developing Web Applications using JavaServer Faces 2.0 chapter covers details on creating JSF projects primarily focussing on using Netbeans 7 IDE capabilities.
JSF concepts are covered only what is required from a Netbeans 7 usage point of view. Advanced concepts on JSF are not covered such as Lifecycle, phases etc. A couple of pages on this would have helped the reader to understand the big picture especially the beginners.

Then next chapter is devoted to the intro on PrimeFaces component library; which comes pre-bundled with Netbeans 7. Several features and examples are covered.

Interacting with Databases through the Java Persistence API is a very important chapter in the book. It covers the basics of JPA API and shows how Netbeans 7 can help to speed up the development of JPA applications. A complete example is explained covering from connecting to database to Entity relationships, named queries, validation and generating entity model from the existing database schema.

Implementing the Business Tier with Session Beans chapter covers basic intro to Session beans and very basic example on AOP (advanced conceptual features are left out).
But, all the features of Netbeans 7 IDE to create Session beans, Interceptors and deploying EJBs to Glassfish server are covered in detail.

The CDI chapter covers basics on creating CDI aware apps using Netbeans 7 GUI. Netbeans GUI makes it simple to create the CDI using wizards. All the features supported by the IDE for CDI capabilities are covered by the author with an practical example. Easy read.

Messaging with JMS and Message Driven Beans chapter starts with a basic intro on JMS. Netbeans 7 IDE generates all the boilerplate code for creating, sending and receiving JMS messages. An queue example with Glassfish server is highlighted in this chapter. For creating, testing and deploying JMS enabled apps, you never have to leave the Netbeans 7 IDE.

SOAP Web Services with JAX-WS and RESTful Web Services with JAX-RS are the last two chapters covering the two different flavors of Webservices supported by Java EE 6.
Netbeans 7 allows to modify web services via a graphical interface. All the boilerplate is neatly generated by Netbeans 7 IDE. These chapters include a simple examples on creating a Webservice, as well a simple client to consume the webservice. Author also shows how easy it is to expose existing Session EJB using Netbeans 7 as an Webservice. Although a more sophisticated example of using attachments and webservices security would have been very useful for the reader.

Couple of appendices at the end - Appendix A on using the Netbeans 7 debugger and Appendix B on using the Netbeans 7 profiler cover other important features supported by Netbeans IDE.

Targeted Audience:

The book is kind of basic tutorial on Java EE 6 using almost all the features supported by Netbeans 7 IDE. Naturally this book is for beginners (as well as intermediate developers) who want to switch to Netbeans and understand how to develop the new features of Java EE 6.  Advanced concepts of Java EE 6 are not covered.

What missing (My opinion):

The author should have taken one example at the start of the book and chapter-wise added new features with increasing complexity to this example; somewhat mimicking real world project. This way,  it would have been a little easier for the reader to grasp. Again this is my view. But the author has chosen the right example for each chapter to bring out all the features of the Netbeans 7.

The other missing part - A bit of unit testing using Netbeans 7 IDE (probably an Appendix) and couple of Ajax examples. These are kind of important in this agile era.


Overall it is a good book and would make an beginner to an adept Netbeans 7 user.

Thanks Packt for providing an opportunity to review the book.

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