Spring Web Flow 2 Web Development

Sven Lüppken, Markus Stäuble (2009)
Review date: July, 2009
Summary

This book only has seven chapters. The bulk of the information is contained in chapter three, called "The basics of Spring Web Flow". The preceding chapters are rather light. The first chapter is what's usually called "preface" or "introduction" in other books and describes what the book is about.

All of the second chapter is dedicated to how to install Spring Web Flow and make it work with IDEs such as Eclipse or NetBeans.

Integration with different implementations of Java ServerFaces is the topic of chapter four. The basics are covered, and then examples of integration with more concrete implementations, such as JBoss RichFaces and Apache MyFaces Trinidad are given (the latter being rather short).

The following chapter is nothing but a reference of the configuration file used by Spring Web Flow; the underlying XSD is explained...

The book ends with a chapter on unit testing flows and interaction with Spring Security.

Opinion

This book is an example of how not to write a book! I don't even feel like spending too much time reviewing it. If we want to get technical, I can start by listing the most fundamental flaw: This book lacks a cohesive view of what it is supposed to be covering. The authors seemed to have agreed on "Spring Web Flow", but fail miserably in making a case. When I read the book I saw little natural connection with between the chapters. Of course, there is an introduction, a "main chapter", an "advanced chapter", and some chapters about more peripheral topics, but the composition is flawed none the less.

Most books like this try using an example, a use case, which they solve using the proposed technology. This book makes some attempts to do that, but fails. The example simply fades in and out, without really adding anything. Also, while we are tired of "Hello World" examples, we don't want this book's approach either: Illustrate s simple feature by surrounding the relevant code and configuration with irrelevant and complicating garbage.

The poor examples, along with the lack of an overall strategy for presenting the contents make this book a pedagogical nightmare. Throw in some focus on irrelevant details, while you're at it, to make your reading more interesting.

Seriously, these flaws make it really difficult to absorb the contents, and the authors aren't making it easier by using a style where the average page contains 20% text, 30% typographical elements such a "tip" or information boxes, and the rest being XML (of which 2 lines are relevant). Even headings and section breaks are poorly chosen.

Is there nothing good then?

Not much! The last chapter gives an ok tutorial on Spring Security, but the relevance can be questioned.

All in all, this is the worst book I've reviewed so far, and I really recommend staying away from it as long as you can.

Who should read this book

Those who really, really cannot make Spring Web Flow 2 work from the online documentation and googling may try this book. But it should be done as a last resort, as every other option is better.




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