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Developer Reading List

, February 25, 2014 Java 8, JavaScript, Functional Programming, and Software Engineering
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RESTful Java with JAX-RS 2.0
by Bill Burke
There is no longer any doubt that the future of programming will be based on loosely coupled services communicating over Web protocols. The Web, itself, works that way and so do most Web applications, and many mobile apps. If cloud continues to take over back-end programming, this trend will only accelerate. Of the ways of handling services, REST has decidedly taken over from old-style services (WSDL, etc.). Consequently, using REST with Java servers will soon become an integral part of enterprise computing. JAX-RS 2.0 is the latest release of the REST services in JavaEE 7. This book, by a JBoss expert, explains REST, how to use JAX-RS to make use of it, how to interact with servers, and (crucially) how to set up a server and API for services consumption by external parties. The book is clear, comprehensive, and informative. I would have expected somewhat more elaborate code examples, although it's possible to make do with those presented. This will probably be the definitive treatment on the topic.

Object-Oriented Programming Languages and Event-Driven Programming
by Dorian P. Yeager
This is a textbook aimed at existing programmers who want to learn OO programming in any one of five languages: Smalltalk, C++, C#, Java, and Python. The vehicle for teaching these languages is event-driven programming. The goal is not intended to teach the same material in all five languages, but rather to provide an omnibus text for an OO class, regardless of teaching language. I'd be impressed with this book if it addressed that task by first presenting the conceptual foundations of OO, without worrying about language. However, that task is not performed.

The greater limitation of this book is that it feels 10 years too late in almost every dimension. For example, the C++ chapter uses MFC as its library — old by many standards and superannuated in Windows 8. The Java chapter uses Swing — the authors apparently unaware that Oracle has repeatedly explained Swing will no longer be revved and client-side UI is henceforth the province of JavaFX 2.0. As a final confirmation that the book's content hails from the wrong era, the source code and tools come on a CD glued to the back inside cover — technique used back before Web-based downloads were widespread. There are surely better ways of getting current knowledge on these topics than paying the $75+ street price for this volume.

Common System and Software Testing Pitfalls
by Donald G. Firesmith
The subtitle for this small volume reveals its true nature: "Descriptions, symptoms, consequences, causes, and recommendations for common testing pitfalls." It's a software-engineering style inventory of pitfalls, presented sequentially, with each entry getting identical treatment: One to two pages consisting of description, potential applicability, characteristic symptoms, potential negative consequences, potential causes, recommendations, and related pitfalls. The content in every section consists exclusively of bullet points. In other words, it's just a catalog with lots of concise descriptions and a few recommendations. It's clearly aimed at academics in the field.

It would have been far, far more useful if it contained an index of symptoms that would cross-reference back to the problems. As it stands, if you don't know what the problem is, you have no way of finding out what this book recommends.

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