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Struts 2 in Action 1st Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1933988078
ISBN-10: 193398807X
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Don Brown is the Technical Lead for Hosted Services at Atlassian Software Systems, with a background in the commercial and US Department of Defense sectors. He is a member of the Apache Software Foundation, and has been a Struts committer since 2003. He is also a committer on several Apache Commons projects and a frequent speaker at JavaOne, ApacheCon, and Java user groups.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Manning Publications; 1 edition (May 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193398807X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933988078
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #895,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had to learn Struts2 quickly since I recently changed jobs and my new team has several web application projects built using Struts2.

Overall, I thought the book was done very well if you are looking for a good introduction to Struts2. The first 8 chapters are very good.

The main negative is the source code for the book's examples. The authors provide one very large war file with all the source code embedded into the war file along with an overall web application divided into sub-applications for each chapter.

This packaging of the source code into the war file made it difficult for me to create individual projects in my development IDE that demonstrated just the material in a specific chapter. I had to spend quite a bit of time breaking down the source code into individual web projects and then figuring out on my own what jars needed to go into each project, what the struts.xml file needed to have, and what ever else was necessary to separate out just that chapter's sub-application so I could run that example and play with it.

Where this really became a problem was in chapters 9 and 10. Chapter 9 is a very advanced introduction to integrating Spring and Hibernate/JPA into Struts2. I never could get this chapter's example to work correctly.

However, chapter 10 on the validation framework then uses the same code as chapter 9, so you really cannot separate out the code for either chapter 9 and 10.

The validation framework is likely something even beginning Struts2 developers will want to use, while Spring/JPA/Hibernate is for more advanced developers and should have been well after the chapter on how to use the validation framework.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I took a chance and pre-ordered this book because I have recently started a Struts2 project and wanted to learn more about the framework. The book did not disappoint.

The authors explained the concepts behind the framework clearly and used examples that were immediately useful. The book is a little too short and in many cases a few more details would have been appreciated but it seemed to be a deliberate decision to leave out some of the less common use cases to avoid cluttering up the book. Thus, this book is ideal if you are new to Struts 2 but have some prior experience with Java web development.

I like the fact that an entire chapter was dedicated to integrating Spring and Hibernate into the framework. It brings all the bits and pieces from the online documentation together in a cohesive and comprehensive package.

Chapters were also dedicated to validation, internationalization, best practices and migration from Struts classic. The authors spent several chapters on how the Value Stack and the ActionContext worked and how OGNL fits into this framework.

All in all there is enough information in this book to start and to produce a complete Struts 2 application.
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First, this book is outdated already. It covers Struts 2.0, and if you use 2.1 (which you should) you will have problems. This is particularly acute because 2.1 uses a lot of newer convention-based mapping to actions, and a lot of the techniques described in the book are now deprecated.

However, this biggest problem with the book is that it's a ponderous read. The author spends countless pages discussing the minutiae of OGNL and type converters ... way more than a beginner needs to know. However, more critical topics like the Struts2 JSP tags are barely covered until Chapter 6. Other important topics like session management are barely covered at all. This book needs a lot of editing and reorganization before it will be useful for most beginners.

Nevertheless, there is some useful information here for those with the patience to dig for it. I thought the discussion of interceptors was very solid. However, much of this doesn't justify the price of the book. I recommend just downloading the Starting Struts 2 docs from the Apache Struts2 website, and working through it. You'll learn a lot quicker through their "bootstrap" tutorial than you will here.
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There are many good and bad reviews here. I thought the book was very readable and fairly well written. It may be too heavy for beginners, though. My web development skills were a little rusty and I had some difficulty getting up-to-speed with Struts 2. Web development is its own little world. Prior experience with a web MVC 2 framework, or at least servlet/JSP is very helpful.

I found the book detailed and pretty complete. I'd say it's the only book you need and is still up-to-date for Struts 2.1 (2.3 had a problem with finding the default web page for the webroot/ so I went back to 2.1). The server side AJAX may be dated, so you may need some current examples for serving AJAX requests.

The whole book is very useful reading but I'd recommend reading the first 8 chapters first and reading the chapters on spring/hibernate, plugins, and Struts 1 migration only if you need it. There are plenty of odd features or tricks that need to be done a certain way that you will pick up by reading the whole book.

Some chapters are definitely better than others. The organization leaves something to be desired. I don't know how I would change it, but I found myself frequently searching for information sprinkled in different chapters before I was able to get enough of what I needed. I did read the first seven chapters twice with much more understanding on the second pass. There is a learning curve with using OGNL, and even reading in application properties (same as i18n - internationalization). One thing that isn't covered well is the use of the static ServletActionContext.getServletContext() when you don't have normal access through the class or a method parameter. This is accessible as ThreadLocal data to all code executing on the thread.
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