Book Review: Spring Data

5 12 2012

I’m reviewing this book thanks to the good people at Packt Publishing that give me a free copy

Spring Data in is own words is:

…an umbrella open source project which contains many subprojects that are specific to a given database. The projects are developed by working together with many of the companies and developers that are behind these exciting technologies.

So, if you already know the kind of support that Spring Framework give to JDBC you could have an idea: Unified Runtime Exceptions Hierarchy, Templates implementation and so on; but for MongoDB, Redis, HBase and others, including extensions for already supported technologies like the afore mentioned JDBC and JPA

The Spring Data book from Packt Publishing, written by Petri Kainulainen covers the JPA extension and Redis support.

First the good parts:

  • The book is very short (161 pages) you can read all in less than a week
  • The author covers well both topics from the Spring perspective
  • The example code is very well written, well formated and concise (very rare on other Packt books)
  • The author approach is more practice than theory, some people love this approach

Now the bad parts

  • The examples use Spring Java Config. Java Config is a special configuration type that let you write Spring Applications without XML. Although more trendy, this is the least used configuration type and not all Spring users feels comfortable with this configuration, and the tooling support isn’t the best
  • The layer architecture isn’t well defined. The service layer have a lot of implementation details that depends on the data layer, so from one example to the other the services implementations change radically.

    This is “understandable” in JPA examples (Spring Data JPA adds dynamic implementations for Repositories) but in the Redis examples, There’s not a Data layer!!

In conclusion

The book cover well both topics, the code is well written, but have some oddities





Book Review: Scala in Depth

14 06 2012

Maybe you don’t like Scala, but you couldn’t argue that Scala isn’t a hot topic on the development community.

Manning has published their first exclusive Scala book (Other Manning’s books touch Scala topics), Scala in Depth. Other books in Scala are been prepared by Manning

The author, Joshua D. Suereth works in TypeSafe the company behind Scala. As described in the title, this book touch some scala topics in the deepest way.

So, if you’re looking a beginner Scala book, I suggest you Programing in Scala second edition [Odersky, Spoon & Venners 2010], ’cause this book assumes that you know the language basics, and don’t come with a gentle introduction to the Scala world.

General

Seems that Suereth is a very seasoned Java developer. Many examples in the first chapters explain the differences between both languages, even using Spring framework; and the chapter 10 (Integrating Scala with Java) have a lot of useful information (and hard to find in other resources). The approach to the book is so deep, that many examples include bytecode analysis (indeed, very geek). Also many chapters covers the type system, making this book a perfect companion to the developers coming from an OOP background

Suereth makes a great work teaching those hard concepts, and the book never turns boring.

The worst part about this book is the code formatting. Many examples in the book have erros and Suereth favors a REPL approach that, IMHO, is very hard to read in a book. Also the source code that comes with the book don’t come with any instruction and only two chapters have a build.sbt file. But those problems are minor compared with all the useful information that the book have.

Content

Chapters 1 and 2 are an “Introduction” to Scala, but don’t expect to learn languages basics here (Chapter 2 have many useful tricks to work with Option[T]).

Chapter 3 covers coding conventions, very useful (Many corner cases covered here are a little spooky)

Chapter 4 to 7 covers almost every topic on Scala’s OOP flavor. (Including many cases that aren’t covered in other books)

Chapter 8 covers the Scala collections library, nothing too fancy, but is very well explained

Chapter 9 covers Actors. (Actors are a very hard and broad topic to only on chapter.)

Chapter 10 is about Integrating Scala with Java and cover many cases that could arise in a mixed project.

Chapter 11 cover many topics in functional programing like Category theory, Monads and Functors, a good introduction but I think that I’ll need twenty more books to grasp and use in a proper way this concepts.

Conclusion

This is an excellent book for those that have a previous experience with Scala. The OOP chapters are superior to other Scala books, the functional chapter is good introduction to this complex topic. The code could be better, but don’t affect the overall experience. 5 stars





Book Review: Spring Web Services 2 Cookbook

3 05 2012

I’m reviewing this book thanks to the good people at Packt publishing that give me a PDF copy to read

I’m a SpringSource Certified Instructor and Spring WS is one of the most difficult part to teach en every course. And not because the framework is complicated, is the technology (SOAP) that is very complicated. So, having a book in the topic at hand is a very good thing.

First of all the good parts:

  • This is the first book on Spring WS and do a very good work covering every corner case. Is, by far, more complete than the official documentation
  • And when I say “every corner case” is TRUE (seriously, the whole enchilada), from things like using XMPP to send a SOAP message to secure a WS using WSS4J, including Spring Security and many more things.
  • The book also cover Web Service with REST (without covering security ) and Spring Remoting

Now, the (very minor) bad parts:

  • This format (a Cookbook) is not the best way to teach topics in a deep way
  • The code looks horrible (at least in the PDF version) and is very hard to read. This is epidemic in other Packt publishing books (Hey Packt’s friends, take note). Reading the code from the example code is better, but, the code have little or no documentation at all and is poorly formated.
  • The implementation details in some examples aren’t the best. The use of some deprecated classes, building new instances just to call static methods, using XPath without XPathOperations (a nice interface that define some very helpful XPath methods) and so on
  • In the Spring Remoting part the authors don’t cover HttpInvoker that is the more natural way to communicate two Spring applications. (In fact HttpInvoker is nicely cover in the Spring documentation, so is just a matter of taste)

In conclusion

This a very good book, the authoritative reference for Spring WS





Flex on Java:Review

8 09 2010

The people of Manning books give a MEAP copy of “Flex on Java” from Bernerd Allmon and Jeremy Anderson

In my company we are developing an ERP for a mid-size company dedicated to sale construction supplies on Leticia, Colombia. The application is a port from a Seam based application to a Flex/Spring application (BTW, Seam is a HORRIBLE framework, avoid it  if you can). So this is a great opportunity to review this book

First of all, the copy that I have is MEAP version so, this is not the final book and can contain some rough cuts and unpolished parts (if I can obtain the final version I’ll update this review)

Chapter 1:Some Flex with your Java?: A general introduction to the main topics of Flex and, of course, Java. A nice introduction for the rookie, but I don’t think that a rookie want to read this book. Flex and Java are big Behemoths and think to dominate both with just one book is silly. Also we have our first “Hello World!”, and IMHO the main problem of this book: (actually, not so relevant) The majority of the example codes aren’t in the last versions of the frameworks.

Chapter 2:Beginning with Java: This chapter cover the development of a Java Web Application with AppFuse (I read about this framework but I never use before) and Maven, once more time good information for the Rookie (Including how to install a JDK, yes, you read well). The application expose some WebServices and have the DAO Layer with Hibernate, the IoC with Spring and the Web Layer with Struts and JSP. Thumbs Up for no including IDE related content

Chapter 3:Getting Rich with Flex: Very good chapter, nice examples, and a valuable information for all the developers that are new in Flex, although don’t replace a good book in Flex, contains enough information to start and see the power of this framework. Thumbs Up for don’t use Flash Builder.

Chapter 4:Connecting to Web Services: This chapter is worth of the total costs of the book. The code quality are amazing, as never see before on others Flex books. The authors introduce the MVP (Model View Presenter) Pattern, a good way of organizing the code of a RIA. Although I never use the MVP is very nice to see a good example of how you can organize the code to call WebService/RemoteObject.

If you, like me, are not new to Flex and Server communication you’ll know that all the examples in the web and in the books use the <mx:RemoteObject> tag, very well for small examples but when your application grows up you’ll have a lot of copy-n-paste code in all the application. Well this chapter teach you how avoid this nightmare.

Chapter 5:BlazeDS Remoting and Logging: This chapter cover the Spring Flex project in very detailed way. For me this is OK, I’m a fan of Spring ( I’m  SpringSource Certified Spring Professional) but not all the developers love Spring. So, will be nice if the book cover another options like GraniteDS and integrations with EJB3 and Seam (The HORROR). Thumbs down for don’t including information about Exception Translators and the proper way to manage them

Chapter 6: Flex Messaging: Messaging is one of the more powerful features on Flex. This chapter have a LOT of technical details, is very deep and not for the faint of heart. But if you’re using Flex and Java, surely you’re not of them, right?

Chapter 7:Securing and personalizing your application: Spring Security deserve a book for his own, but this chapter makes a good work explaining the basics of Spring Security and his integration with Flex. Good examples and good theory, much better than the Spring Flex documentation

Chapter 8:Charting with Degrafa: This is the chapter that I enjoy less, Why? ’cause Degrada only works in Flex 2 and 3, and my current projects are on Flex 4, however AFAIK Degrafa is integrated now with Flex 4, so, hypothetically speaking, the theory in this chapter will help you with graphics on Flex 4.

Chapter 9:Desktop 2.0 with AIR: Great Chapter, AIR is a very compelling technology, and is huge plus if you can turn your Flex Web App in AIR Desktop App, but don’t lies yourself, most of the times this is Phantom requirement (A requirement that don’t exists), so Choosing Flex ’cause you can make Desktop apps easily when your app don’t have this requirement is a no-no.

Chapter 10:Testing your Flex application:Unit Testing is a requirement on all modern application development cycle. Flex Unit Testing is not very different from Unit Testing on other languages, so if you already knows how to do Unit Testing, you will dominate Flex Unit Testing in a breeze. This Chapter also covers Continuous Integration with Hudson Server, another hot topic (BTW I prefer TeamCity from JetBrains)

Chapter 11:Flex on Grails: Grails, my deadliest enemy, we meet again. You hate me, and I hate you… jokes apart, seriously, I’m not able to run any Grails example, and for my own mental health I don’t make the example in this chapter, but the code seems pretty easy, (Grails code is very easy, if it works is another question) but don’t expect that Grails auto-magically generates MXML code, so it’s not reduce drastically the amount of work that you need to do a mid size app.

Conclusion: Flex on Java is a very well written book, the code examples have a great quality and are production-ready, a very rare characteristic in programming books.

I like:

  • Code quality
  • Explanations on some hard topics
  • IDE-Agnostic

Don’t Like:

  • The book use some outdated libraries
  • Some important topics aren’t well covered
  • Don’t cover other connection options apart from WS and BlazeDS

NOTE: 9/10