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Learning Jakarta Struts 1.2: a concise and practical tutorial: A step-by-step introduction to building Struts web applications for Java developers Paperback – August 26, 2005
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About the Author
Stephan Wiesner was born in October 1973 in L¿neburg, Germany. He graduated in business informatics in 2003. He got introduced to Struts during his studies. He didn't understand the official documentation for Struts and therefore started to develop his own documentation. Feedback from all over the world encouraged him and finally he published it as a book. He currently lives and works in Lucerne, Switzerland, as a QS consultant and test manager.
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Most of the reason for this is because the downloadable example code has got errors in it and don't correlate with what the book reads. For example, some source code files are titled differently. I'm not sure if the publisher failed to update the example code with a new edition to the book or what.
I also wish the book gave more details behind why it used the code that it did for the examples. There were also some places where the book goes through items unrelated to the framework, like having you create logging code for Commons Logger and Log4J. Although these things make for a well-rounded application, they doesn't teach you anything about Struts.
I bought this book mostly to see what's changed since Struts 1, which is what I'm familiar with. I'm somewhat familiar with Struts 1.1, I've messed with DynaActionForm and some of the new validation features. So I know what Struts is capable of... and it's not this.
Struts is an excellent controller (the C in MVC), and it has a lot of really handy tags that you can use in your JSP pages. Where the author completely misses the mark is that he concentrates so heavily on the tags and very little on what makes Struts really powerful... its controller. That's not to say that he only concentrates on tags, he goes into great detail about integrating a database, writing a properties singleton, and other garbage that has nothing to do with struts.
He frequently uses a jsp page as the URL to visit to access a page. A good Struts implementation should rely COMPLETELY on Struts as its controller. This means that all of his pages should have been *.do pages. Not only does this allow for pre-render logic, but it means that you can switch out what JSP page you want to use without having to change your URL. It's pretty much the foundation of struts, and yet it's completely lost here.
Another thing I found missing was action-specific forwards. His action tags were almost all single, closed <action/> tags with no content in between. He opted instead to use global forwards for everything.
I'm not a genius, I obviously have something to learn about Struts if I'm still buying books. But Struts is about making things clean, abstracting the Model 1 grossness that JSPs introduced. This book is a piecemeal organization of some capabilities of Struts. Not only is this book lacking on any high-level struts capabilities, but I think it actually teaches bad programming.
Maybe it's just not possible to adequately cover Struts in such a short space. Or maybe the author just didn't do a very good job. I think it's probably a combination of the two. But in any case, this book just fails to deliver.
To begin with, let me how explain how concise "concise" is. Subtract out the intro, appendices, index, etc. and the book boils down to about 155 pages of content. About half of that is taken up by source code and configuration file samples plus screen shots of browser windows and other images. Another 15 pages are used to describe how to set up Tomcat and MySQL, plus the requirements and database schema for the sample online bookstore. Normally, all this is very welcome. The problem is, this leaves us with only about 60 pages of explanation of Struts itself, in a rather large typeset at that.
It's simply not enough, and the author seems to know it. In many cases, he refers the reader to outside sources for explanation. In a few case, those sources are discussion forum entries dating back to 2002 and 2003! (The book is copyrighted 2005). But even when the book provides explanations, they're often so brief and concise, that I often had to turn to the Strut's online user guide or other sources just to try and figure out what was going on.
To its credit, the book does cover the subjects of Internationalization and Logging early and with *relative* thoroughness. These are 2 features that developers can too easily postpone, and Wiesner's emphasis on designing with these in mind from the start is good advice. But again, it leaves you scratching your head why he puts relatively so little into explaining more core concepts, like the chain of events in a request, how to make non-trivial forms (e.g. with checkboxes or list boxes), proper separation of model and controller, what the RequestProcessor is and how to use it, etc.
I think this could have been a good book. The authors write well enough, but just not enough. Note: this book is translated from the German, which apparently is 264 pages, so maybe that's a better read.
Finally, although the book is entitled "Learning Jakarta Struts 1.2", I see no evidence of any 1.2 features in it. Even the 1.1 features are mostly just addressed at the end, suggesting he initially wrote the book with 1.0 in mind. The version number is not in the German title; it's probably fair to conclude that Packt Publishing put it into the title as a (deceptive) marketing ploy.
Bottom line: pass on this one and find something more thorough.