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Book review: Apache Geronimo Quick Reference

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Apache Geronimo Book

I recently got a copy of Apache Geronimo 2.1: Quick Reference.

This book should help me with my first steps with this container. Here is a little review for this brand new release of Packt Publishing.

My first impression was: wow, is that really a quick reference? The book has a good format and comes with roundabout 370 pages. I hoped for a short book in these times I don't have too much time for huge novels in the kind of "Gone with the wind". However, I jumped through the content and figured out that this is actually a quick reference - very good for the impatient developers like me!

In fact, this book covers all relevant topics I can imagine: it starts with an introduction and a description of Geronimos architecture, which gives an brief (sometimes a bit short) overview of how Geronimo works with its plugins and its deployment strategy. I would have loved to read a bit more about the "hot deployment" feature of Geronimo. In JBoss world, this has brought me some headache. In this book it's only covered with roundabout one page, just saying that it exists, were you need to place your files and how you can monitor that activity. Even later it's not mentioned in special. Well, but that's ok for a Quick Reference.

After this, one gets in touch with the most important knowledge of JMS, Database connectivity and JPA. Then there is an extraordinary good chapter about Security. Its one of the biggest chapters in this book and one can feel quite well how experienced these guys are. Topics are handled in some kind of How-To way, like "Creating a new keystore" or "Changing a private key password". These guys know what they speak about, probably the best chapter in this book.

Then it comes to CORBA, which I found also interesting, but to short in general. JNDI was reduced to the most important "put your hands there" information. Then it comes to Geronimo Plugins. This one was very interesting too and I wished to read more about it, but well, again, it's short reference. You can find much Listings in this chapter, but I cannot say that they helped me too much without digging in the containers documentation.

In the administration chapter, the authors show the different portlets Geronimo provides for monitoring actions. It's basically a walk through of the different pages of the Geronimo console. I think, this chapter could have been improved much more. For example, the Thread Pools Portlet is described with just one sentence: "...lists the thread pools defined in the server, and lets you monitor the thread pools.". Ok, I don't need a book for that information. Some other portlets are described a bit more in detail, but nothing which makes me to a Geronimo Guru.

Later you will have a How-To use the Geronimo Eclipse Plugin. It contains lots of Screenshots which helps you to create a project specifically for the Geronimo. More impressive was the Cluster chapter. Clustering is a difficult topic and I would use this section for doing the job. It's a good mix between explanation and reference.

Last chapter I was eager to see was the one with the Geronimo Internals. At some parts it reads like a smaller version of an API. It should help to develop own GBeans and it does, but not so much that I would have a huge benefit compared to the docs.

Final words: this one is really a reference and not a teaching book. If you would like to buy it, you should have some knowledge about JEE and about Containers in general. This book will not help you to understand the technologies behind. It's more a collection of How-Tos, and that is what I expected from a Quick Reference. The authors made this point clear on the cover, were they are stating that you need to know about JEE5 concepts. At some points I would have preferred some more information. Sometimes I would have wished that they put not so much unnecessary listings (I don't need import statements in java listing nor do I need XML-Comments in a 10 line XML file). I think, if you are developing an application, this book is a nice to have. If you are more an administrator and need to develop, package or cluster Geronimo, this book will probably give you some benefits. Especially the security chapter is well done.

However, thanks for this book, I like it, but it's not one of my all-time faves.

Tags: #Apache #Review #Geronimo #Java #Open Source

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