JavaServer Faces in Action Paperback – 18 Nov 2004
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Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
You definately get the sense from this book that it was written by someone that loves developing and is extremely versed with JSF; not someone that wanted to make some money and picked up a few tutorials on it before writing a book. Also to his credit, Kito runs the immensly helpful jsfcentral.com site that supplements the book beautifully with more resources, articles and applications (even components) for your picking after you are up and running with JSF.
A little information on me: I am a JSP/Servlet web application developer, I've done Java client side for about 5 years and server side for 3. I've played with EJBs, done a lot of Struts applications, and attempted to learn Tapestry. I wanted to learn JSF and wanted a good paced yet deeply informative book that would teach me best practices right off the bat with JSF and also talk about WHY they were best practices... this is exactly what I found this book to be. 5/5 stars from me.
Before reading this book, I had read the Wiley book and part of the OReilly JSF book. There's a great deal of information in Kito's book, and absolute neophytes will probably need to re-read the material (it obviously depends on how fast they learn).
I also liked the discussion on integrating JSF with Struts, which (AFAIK) is the only place where I've seen such a discussion. After I saw the Struts+JSF diagram I had an "aha" experience, and I'm sure it has saved me hours of effort trying to cull the same information from a variety of other sources.
One of the book's primary strengths is its even-handed focus on the what/why/how of JSF, along with examples that are incremental developed and presented in a lucid manner. I'm planning to develop some custom JSF components, and I'll definitely have Kito's book within arm's reach!
The book starts with an introduction to JSF with a good overview of the component technology and how it works as well as a brief discussion of some of the IDEs that support JSF. The next few chapters discuss the components in depth and the book bogs down. There is too much detail with very little in the way of code samples. To some extent this might make sense since the components are meant to be dropped from a palette, but at the same time it makes it very difficult to follow along without some understanding of how the components would be used in an application. Starting with chapter 8, the author tries to put it all together with a sample application. Unfortunately, it is presented as a development case study instead of a JSF case study. We get three chapters of screens with no code behind it that includes prototype versions and final versions. This seemed very unnecessary and helped to inflate the page count. It isn't until chapters 12 and 13 that we finally get to see some detail code but by then I had forgotten what the screens introduced four chapters earlier were supposed to be doing. The book ends with a chapter on Struts integration and a chapter on developing your own custom components.
There are bonus chapters available on the Manning web site, but since some of the bonus chapters are important to understanding the material in the book, unless you are reading the book while sitting at your computer, this isn't very helpful. The book would have been much better with some serious editing and rearranging of topics. The sample application should have been simplified and combined with the component reference material presented earlier. Code and screens should have been discussed together. The bonus chapters should have been incorporated into the printed version of the book.
I don't want you to get the impression that this is a poorly written or useless book. In fact, there is a lot of good material here and after reading this book you will have a thorough understanding of JSF. The author gives very clear (if not concise) explanations but the book is too long and parts are difficult to wade through.
If you are looking for good JSF information, I now use the Core book for information and the O'Reilly book for a quick API reference. If you want examples of great Manning Press books, please check out their "Spring In Action" and "JSTL In Action" books. Both are fantastic reads and full of great information.
Sadly, this particular book left a lot to be desired both as an instructional text or as an API reference.
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