Rated 9/10. The more experience you have, the more you'll appreciate the layout of this book, as the information is very structured with little foofoo noise. The design is especially helpful for learning class APIs, the web.xml, and standard actions. SCWCD Study Companion is certainly the best book on the market for those last few times you need to skim through everything the day leading up to the exam. Each chapter ends with some superb questions, about 15 or so. Each question has a definite purpose to your learning process. The questions truly help enforce what important points you should remember from the chapter and what silly (though important) tricks to look out for in the exam. You can tell that the author put a copious amount of time into writing thoughtful questions. My only complaint with the book is that, in my opinion, it's weak on Design Patterns. I've always felt that the online pattern catalogues were the best study resource for these anyway, so it's not a huge deal. Charles Lyons' SCWCD Study Companion comes with a companion of its own: an online mock exam (also available for purchase separately). The mock exam has lots of tricky questions, so be sure you're ready first. It will certainly make you more aware of what to look out for in the real exam. In fact, it feels just like a real Sun exam except without the nasty drag and drop my-answers-disappeared bug (thank goodness!). Upon completion, you can review the answers with explanations at your leisure, even days later. And get this - the bloke actually wrote the mock and its underlying engine himself, so his hands are very well in it and any errata will be fixed promptly. Few exams are so living as this. The question most people will be asking is how this book compares to Head First Servlets & JSP (HFSJ). It's smaller and easier to carry. I find, though there are fewer pictures and jokes, I can make it through more topics before my brain starts to hurt. I think this is because the material is so well organized that my brain doesn't have to defrag it all afterward. HFSJ may be more fun to read, but those that want just the down and dirty might better appreciate SCWCD Study Companion. The Study Companion makes a better reference book, a better book for subsequent reads, and is much easier to transport between work and home. If you can afford two books, definitely get both the Study Companion and HFSJ. If you can only afford one, choose the one that best fits your style of learning. --Marc Peabody, JavaRanch.com
SCWCD cannot be aimed for a 100% if you have not referred to the API documentation or the JSP and Servlet Specifications. But would you really like to go through such humongous documentation within a short span of time? I hear many no's cried out loud. But what if I say you would get a compact series of chapters and exam wise listed topics with the API information just perfect for the exam and Specification filtered out with only the exam relevant aspects, then this the book to go for. I wouldn't have been able to score a 90+ score seriously speaking without this book. Charles Lyons has prepared the book with a lot of effort of perfectly scanning up to the API level details and also packaging it with the specification information so compactly that you don't get bored reading it. He has maintained the flow so accurately that your questions will immediately be answered just as they get raised in your mind. Don't try to read through the chapters in between because the flow of the chapters will be clear only when you start it from the beginning. I assure that reading this book won't make you touch the specifications nor the API documentations at all. Even I didn't! The best part of the book is it acts not only as a SCWCD study companion but also as a Reference book for future use since it has additional chapters for the updates that have happened in the recent past in JSP and Servlets. The one thing I would reprimand in using this book is don't try to solve tests provided at the end of each chapter since they are literally tough! You need to have your brain super charged to solve the tests since they cover an amazing depth of knowledge. But on the lines of SCWCD you won't get such difficult questions so it is better if you stick to the tests provided in the earlier 2 books. --SCWCD - The 3 Steps to Success by Nitin Pai
1. Very easy on reading - zero noise, wonderful narration and simply explained. 2. Concepts explained in detailed - a handy reference, even after passing the exam. 3. Chapter on EL,Std. Action, Tag File, Tag deployment and JSP Document - are really good. The first few chapters 1-6 related to servlet technology (some have more of API than explanations..), security and design patterns - these chapters can be easily covered from any other source as well (Since some details are asmiss as well - so might go through Specs/HFSJ/or HD instead). Overall I liked the book very much and I am keeping it for future reference on my shelf. For anyone new to JSP/Servlets and who find HFSJ a bit noisy - would find this book as a light breeze... --Shivani Chandna, reader
About the Author
Charles Lyons is an independent software, design and computer administration consultant based near London, UK, with nearly a decade of programming experience in a wide variety of fields and applications ranging from microprocessors and machine code to the Web, three-dimensional graphics and modelling, and client- and server-side programming using PHP, C++ and of course Java. He is completely self-taught, and after a brief period as a Web designer, his interest quickly spread to server-side programming in PHP, before eventually discovering Java. Combining Java Enterprise technology with the Web was a natural progression, finally culminating in this book, which is derived from his own experiences, and mostly from learning from his mistakes and misconceptions! Sitting (and passing!) the Beta version of the SCWCD exam in 2004, has given him an insight into the wide range of questions asked by the examiners, which is reflected in the style of questions provided in this book. Since the First Edition of this book was published in 2006, he has helped thousands of readers worldwide pass the SCWCD successfully.