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Keywords: Enterprise Java, Hibernate, Spring, Eclipse
Title: Agile Java Development
Author: Anil Hemrajani
Publisher: SAMS Publishing
Verdict: Not recommended
The sub-title of Agile Java Development lists Spring, Hibernate and Eclipse, with JUnit and Ant included in the text, providing an effective and widely used set of technologies for enterprise Java development. Add to this an emphasis on agile development processes and the book looks like it should be a winner. Unfortunately the book simply does not live up to this promise.
Firstly the coverage of material is very uneven. For example there really is very little detailed treatment of agile modelling, extreme programming or agile techniques in general. For example the book is structured around a single application - a time sheeting system with a web front end - and the book dives straight in with a domain model without discussing how it is that you go from a rough requirements spec to a finished domain model. Granted the book is geared more toward technology than process but given the number of times agile processes a more in-depth handling of the subject would have been warranted.
The same goes for many of the technology chapters. Spring and Hibernate are both skimmed over, without the requisite explanations to describe what problems are being solved, how they are solved and why things are done the way they have. The author also makes the big mistake of assuming the reader has downloaded the source code to the application. This means the text frequently drops down into source code, but only shows a few lines at a time. For anyone who wants to read on the train it means having to carry around the hard copy along with the book.
The text also frequently includes long quotes from web sites and other sources when discussing the different pieces of software (Spring, Hibernate, Eclipse etc). Why? We can read these on the sites themselves, it adds no value to the book. What we're looking for is information that is more structured and fits in with the flow of ideas. The same goes for the side-bars and asides, which often seem to serve little purpose often than to convince us that the author is a smart guy who has been around the block a few times.
All of this is a great shame as the topics are interesting and the central application in the book would make a good learning exercise. However the reader isn't party to the design process and the fragments of code are meaningless unless you've downloaded the complete application.
The writing itself leaves something to be desired, very often the author is either stating the obvious or is writing at such a high-level that the core concepts and details are not addressed.
As a book the overall does not score at all highly. Much of the content is superficial and badly organised. There are many better books on the topics covered here, including POJOs In Action on the technology side and Integrating Agile Development in the Real World on the agile process side of things.
To conclude, this is one book that we do not recommend.