Book Review of the Month

JSTL in Action
by Shawn Bayern
A nicely written book about JSTL (JSP Standard Tag Library). Its expected audience consists of HTML and JSP developers who can be unfamiliar with Java, as well as experienced Java programmers.

A reader without programming experience will probably benefit most. The book is beginner-friendly on all levels of organization. Terminology is relaxed without being sloppy: correspondence to both formal lexicon and "field jargon" is given. Every important word and concept is explained, often with vivid (or bizarre, depending on your taste) metaphors. It will be long time before I forget author's definition of "scope" that compared it to flying rats...

The words "in action" in the book's title aren't just words, it is a methodological principle. The discussion concentrates on practice rather than theory and specifications; each JSTL tag comes with examples - from "elementary" tasks - how to set encoding or print numbers in assorted formats, to parsing XML and performing SQL queries. There are more complex projects, like writing an online survey, message board and a simple web portal from scratch - toys that look so real and their code so simple that you want to try it out.

The last part is targeted at Java programmers and deals with issues like performance improving, configuration, and developing custom tags - JSTL supports even this!

And if all this is not enough, then you should know: there are jokes scattered throughout the book, so you do not want to skip pages for not to miss one!

(Margarita Isayeva (Map)- Sheriff, August 2002)

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Chosen by Cindy Glass and Madhav Lakkapragada