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Dynamic Web Application Development Using XML and Java Paperback – 1 Apr 2008

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The World Wide Web has had a profound impact on our lives since the 1990s. Read the first page
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A great view of the Web programming forest, with just enough trees and leaves. 23 Mar. 2011
By C. L. Burchard - Published on
Format: Paperback
Three and a half years ago I was given the task of teaching a "Net-centric Computing" course to upper-division students who already had a firm grasp of C++ and Java Programming. I scrambled to cobble together a course by having students buy three different books and refer to many Web resources. On two subsequent passes through the course, I experimented further with materials, but became increasingly frustrated that I couldn't find the right combination of coverage of material, depth of coverage, and cost of materials. Finally, I came across this book by David Parson's and saw in it what I wish I had had to begin with.

Parson's text is by far the best of the many web programming related textbooks and professional references that I have examined. His presentation of material is at a suitable level of breadth and depth for a college-level course for students who already have a good grasp of Java. The book covers the sprawling territory of Web programming all the way from the client (with HTML and CSS) to the server and database (Servlets, JSPs, data persistence) and finally on to Web services. In between, the book covers JavaScript, XML and its related technologies, and AJAX.

Parson's running "Insurance Company" example starts out simply enough, but by the time he introduces JSPs and Model 2 MVC architecture, the example has become sufficiently complex to require many .JSP and .java files. Once he shows how to back up the server with a database and use XML on the server, all of the pieces fit together so that no only are the details of web programming at your fingertips, a very appealing high level view of the landscape of web programming is also in front of you.

There is no end to the books and Web resources that address everything from this book in much greater detail. So why this book? First, because it integrates all the topics that it covers, rather than presenting them in great depth but in isolation, and second, because it gives a broad view of the topic at the same time that it pays attention to the important details. As an instructor, I sometimes want my students to see some topics in more detail (for example, XML Schema, or XSLT), but with this book as the foundation, I find it easy to fill in details by sending my students to Web resources.

Readers may not like the fact that Parsons does not use or even discuss any particular Java IDE. Instead, he takes a more bare-bones approach, discussing various Java Enterprise servers, how to do XML configuration for them, and also how to use Ant scripts for compilation, building, and deployment. Since my students are already familiar with the NetBeans IDE, we have taken the IDE approach, and have had no problems creating Java Web projects from the source code on the CD-ROM that accompanies the book. I would also point out that this code does not have the bugs and quirks that often plague accompanying source code.

Kudos to and thanks to Professor Parsons, and I await anything else he can publish along these lines.
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