What books do you recommend? This is a question frequently asked at my Java seminars. I have a list of favorites, but I often dont answer the question well because of memory limitations. Now, however, in front of me sits a stack of my favorite books and Im finally going to answer that question in full. So reserve a little space in your carry-on luggage, because this summer, youre going to do a little reading.
Its been said that the only way to learn is through analogies. We cant learn something new unless we can relate it to something we already understandlike legacy OS/400 programming. Besides, our new Web applications need to integrate with our existing OS/400 applications. Thats why the first section of my list includes those that are published by Midrange Computing:
e-RPG: Building Web Applications with RPG
E-deployment: The Fastest Path to the Web
Java for RPG Programmers
Java Application Strategies for iSeries and AS/400Second Edition
iSeries and AS/400 SQL at Work
My next list of books is from other publishers:
Inside Servlets: Server-Side Programming for the Java Platform
Web Development with Java Server Pages
Practical Java Programming Language Guide: The Addison-Wesley Professional Computing Series
Enterprise Javabeans: Developing Component-Based Distributed Applications
My own copies of these five books are in tatters. You see, when I read a technical book I have a highlighter on one ear and a pencil on the other. I highlight sentences that explain important concepts and I also pencil in thoughts and new understandings. Later, I go back and re-read the highlighted sections and revise my penciled thoughts. Grab your own highlighter and pencil and begin reading Inside Servlets. Youll find it an easy read, even though it has a relatively complete coverage of Suns Servlet API. Inside Servlets, like e- RPG, has an excellent introduction to HTTP and HTML.
I have two copies of Web Development with Java Server Pages. One is a PDF soft- copy that cost me $14 when I downloaded it from www.manning.com. But I found the soft copy to be so valuable that I ordered a hard copy.
The last three books on my list are for those of you who are already comfortable with Java but want to move on to more advanced development. Practical Java Programming Language Guide covers best programming practices for Java that will improve your applications performance and maintainability.
If you are developing an all-Java application, then you need to consider Enterprise JavaBeans (EJBs). (For more on EJB, read my Web article, EJB for Everyone, at www.midrangecomputing.com/ mc/article.cfm?titleid=b1537&md=200010.) While there is a small learning curve with EJB, one of its great strengths is that it is a standard architecture that youll use over and over again. After surmounting that first short, but steep, EJB learning curve, you can breathe easy because the curve flattens out. Tom Valeskys Enterprise Javabeans is the best introduction to EJBs that Ive read.
The last book on my list is Design Patterns. Definitely buy that book last, if you buy it at all. Im hesitant to recommend it, because it is decidedly complex. Read it only if you want to be an object-oriented programming expert. If you read Design Patterns you will perhaps understand only some of it. But, if you use it regularly as a reference, you will be a step ahead of those Java developers that dont have a well-thumbed copy of Design Patterns on their bookshelf.
Apologize to your spouse and get a hold of a few of these books. Then use the idle moments of your summer vacation to read them. Go ahead and get sand in those books; get ice cream on their pages; mark them up with highlighter, pencil, pen, or crayon. Whateverthe point is that you and your legacy applications need to become Web-enabled, and my list of books is a great place to start.