Even with the nod to standard CGI and Active Server Pages, the authors tend to favor Java servlets, especially when combined with JSPs. Provided you can commit to JWS, this servlet/JSP combination is a strong choice. The authors also cover HTML templates, JSP basics, and even include a "how to" section on tracking session information in servlets (through cookies or servlet APIs). The major code example here is a text-based, servlet-powered gaming engine. Readers will also find that the book touches on JWS Web administration, which is graphical and browser-based (thanks to Java).
The book's introduction to coding servlets is as good as any, especially because the authors discuss topics like manipulating thread safety to affect performance. Further sections offer invaluable advice for optimizing servlets and JWS culled from the authors' experience developing a JWS Web site that opened successfully to 2.5 million hits.
Later chapters look at APIs that extend the reach of servlets, from socket and e-mail APIs to JDBC and RMI/CORBA. After tackling servlet debugging, the authors describe ways to "stress-test" servlets, allowing you to ensure your Web site will function when it goes online. Even their checklist for finding the cause of performance bottlenecks is something that every potential JWS developer will want to read! Overall, this text is a must-have resource for building real-world, scalable Web sites powered by Java. --Richard Dragan