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June 23, 2004

"Better, Faster, Lighter Java": Sometimes the Simplest Answer is the Best

Sebastopol, CA--Coffee lovers--at least those who drink coffee for its caffeine jolt--know that the lighter roasts deliver more of a wallop than the dark roasted varieties. Many people equate strong flavor with strong caffeine, not realizing that in fact the reverse is true. If it's the caffeine buzz you're after, then lighter is better.

Like its namesake beverage, Java (the programming language) is afflicted with a similar misconception. According to Bruce Tate and Justin Gehtland, authors of Better, Faster, Lighter Java (O'Reilly, US $34.95), enterprise Java developers--accustomed to dealing with Java's spiraling complexity--have fallen into the habit of choosing overly complicated solutions to problems when simpler options are available. Building server applications with "heavyweight" Java-based architectures, such as WebLogic, JBoss, and WebSphere, can be costly, cumbersome, and unnecessary. When developers reach the point where they spend more time writing code to support their chosen framework than to solve their actual problems, it's time for them to think in terms of simplicity. Once again, lighter is better.

In Better, Faster, Lighter Java, authors Tate and Gehtland argue that the old heavyweight architectures are unwieldy, complicated, and contribute to slow and buggy application code. "Java developers live with a painful reality," Tate and Gehtland explain. "Huge enterprise frameworks are en vogue. That might be good news to you if you're among the ten percent of Java developers who are working on the hardest problems, and your applications happen to fit those enterprise frameworks perfectly. The rest of us are stuck with excruciating complexity for little or no benefit."

As an alternative means for building better applications, the authors present two "lightweight" open source architectures: Hibernate--a persistence framework that does its job with a minimal API and gets out of the way, and Spring--a container that's not invasive, heavy or complicated. Hibernate and Spring are designed to be fairly simple to learn and use, and place reasonable demands on system resources. Better, Faster, Lighter Java shows how they can be used to create enterprise applications that are easier to maintain, write, and debug, and are ultimately much faster.

Written for intermediate to advanced Java developers, the book offers fresh ideas--often unorthodox--to help developers rethink the way they work, presenting techniques and principles they'll use to build simpler applications. Tate and Justin present their ideas from the ground up. First, they lay out five core principles. They demonstrate techniques to build simple, decoupled code, and show readers the methods to use to choose their technologies. Next, the authors show how Hibernate and Spring embrace the concepts they've covered, and then they put the core principles into practice, building a simple but remarkably rich application that solves complex real-world problems.

If you've ever felt that your tools and frameworks were getting the better of you, then its time to get back to business and break away from the "bloatware" that's holding you back. Better, Faster, Lighter Java will show you how to accomplish your tasks simply and elegantly. You'll learn to spend more time on what's important. When you're finished with this book, you'll find that your Java is better, faster, and lighter than ever before.

Additional Resources:

Better, Faster, Lighter Java
Bruce A. Tate, Justin Gehtland
ISBN 0-596-00676-4, 243 pages, $34.95 US, $50.95 CA
order@oreilly.com
1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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