Spring in Action is a great book to get you going with Spring. It discusses various aspects of Spring and gets you started with each of them. The book is about 400 pages, so it does not tell you everything there’s to know about Spring. However, I prefer a book that gets me started and helps me discover things rather than one that tries to show me everything and gets too big and boring. So Spring In Action is the kind of book that I like to read.
The book does a good job of introducing the concepts of inversion of
control (dependency injection) and aspect oriented programming, the
core ideas behind the Spring framework.
An important thing I liked about the book was that the authors don’t go overboard with praises of the Spring framework. They just tell you what’s on offer and at times even advise against using the Spring framework.
The book examples are easy to understand however at times only snippets of code / XML are shown and it’s up the reader to understand how that bit will fit into the whole.
Although I do not hold this against the book, some examples are too ‘american/english’. The examples use Minstrels, Knights, Holy Grail…while explaining the various concepts. Few English educated techies in Asia would know what a minstrel means. Thankfully, there are no baseball or american football examples. I have always wondered why authors take up baseball / american football examples when only a handful of nations play those games. I have read books where I had to first check up what a certain baseball term meant before I could understand the example. Anyway, that’s deviating from the point and I have got back a bit by sneaking in some basic cricket examples in the books that I have written 🙂
Coming to the book, the later chapters talk of how Spring can be integrated with Velocity, FreeMarker, Struts, Tapestry, JSF and WebWork. Although Spring comes with its own MVC framework, I think the Struts integration section in the book will help readers decide if they want to stick with the tried and tested Apache Struts or adopt Spring MVC.
I would have liked to see a section about EJB 3.0 in the book, as some articles have already noted that going with EJB 3 standards and annotations based approach might be a better option than going with Spring.
Overall, this is an easy to read book that can get you started with Spring in a very short time.
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