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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Programming Jakarta Struts, 2nd Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Chuck Cavaness
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
A Good and Decent Book

The author is knowledgeable but does not present the material in a clear, coherent manner, especially for those new to Struts development (which you probably are if you're reading this book). I never really "got" Struts after reading this book cover-to-cover. That is to say, there's no way I could create even a simple working Struts application from scratch. Here's my two main complaints:
1. The book is organized very poorly. For example, although throughout the book we've been seing ActionForms used in code, it's not until page 175 that we get "What Are ActionForms?" The IStorefrontService interface is finally described on page 158, even though it's been seen multiple times previously without any explanation as to what it is. On page 230, the author writes "I've mentioned the UserContainer and ApplicationContainer classes in previous chapters without defining exactly what they are." So the pattern is that things are just foisted upon the reader inside code listings with no explanation and no reference. Sometimes they are finally described hundreds of pages later, sometimes not. In-between are many pages of useful information, but that would have better been left for future chapters. We learn lots about how to extend Struts before we even know how the basics of it work. That makes no sense if you are looking for a tutorial. Needless to say, it's pretty confusing to look at stuff that isn't explained. Terrible.
2. There is no step-by-step creation of a working application here. I made the mistake of thinking there was by skimming the book, but the code is largely given in unconnected fragments, often without a reference to even what file it is supposed to go in (some code relates to no actual project at all). There are two applications presented (a bank account manager, and a shopping cart tool), but again it's almost impossible to create and configure what's in the book into working applications. Sure, you can download completed applications from a web site and try to decipher them on your own, but the fact that only bits and pieces of the code are in the book, with little or no methodology, is lazy.
To be fair, there are some pretty good chapters on ancillary topics, such as Business Objects and Object Persistence, Struts Tag Libraries, Tiles, and Logging. This information will be useful, but not before you can build a working Struts app to apply it to. I think it's a shame because with a little more thought from the user's perspective towards organization/editing, this could have been a really good book. If you already kind of know Struts, I would pick it up to augment your knowledge (perhaps in that instance I'd give it four stars), but I cannot recommend it for the Struts beginner. Sadly, I have not found a single Struts book or online tutorial yet that succinctly and sufficiently explains it to someone with no previous experience. I'm almost tempted to try the Tapestry framework instead...even though the documentation is horrible, the product looks easier to use.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Kevin D. Mitnick, William L. Simon, Steve Wozniak
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Kevin Mitnick Book

I'm sorry, but a book by an ex-hacker who got caught in 1981 isn't my idea of hacking educational material. Those who know Mitnick's background know exactly why he is being pushed upon us as a 'reformed' expert hacker. A 'hacker' who last practiced his criminal behavior in 1981 knows less about today's technology than an AOL user does.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Essentials of Intellectual Property (Essentials Series)
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Alexander I. Poltorak, Paul J. Lerner
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5

The book is a very good overview for anyone interested in the area of intellectual property. With the number new people becoming interested in IP, the book should be a great starting point. The book is well presented and holds your attention very well.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Thinking in Java (3rd Edition)
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Bruce Eckel
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
great book.

With miminal knowledge of C and none of other "PC" programming languages, I found this an excellent way to get started with Java. As an AS/400 specialist, I needed to learn at least the basics in order to work in VisualAge for Java. I have six other Java books, but they all put me to sleep. Not Bruce! I am very impressed with his publication methods. I downloaded the book, printed the entire file, and thought it was so good, I bought it!