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December 13, 2004

"Jakarta Commons Cookbook": Open Source Solutions to Common Java Development Problems

Sebastopol, CA--The Jakarta Commons is a set of small, popular components from the Apache Software Foundation's Jakarta project. Ranging from the elementary to the complex, these libraries are considered indispensable to any project by many Java developers. "The components are so widespread, they may already be on your classpath," says Timothy M. O'Brien, author of Jakarta Commons Cookbook (O'Reilly, US $44.95). "If you develop an application using Jakarta Struts, Apache Tomcat, or Hibernate, you have CommonsBeanUtils and Commons Logging in your classpath. If you just installed Red Hat Enterprise Linux with the default configuration, you've got Commons libraries somewhere in /usr." But pervasiveness doesn't necessarily translate into familiarity, and while Jakarta Commons may be everywhere, many developers are still unaware of the capabilities these components provide.

Although few application developers would consider writing a custom XML parser, many developers frequently write custom components that duplicate freely available libraries. These developers simply don't know that the open source components exist. "Many people know of these components in a general sense, but few have the months or weeks necessary to sit down and read the relevant tutorials, FAQs, blogs, and archived mailing lists associated with each component," notes O'Brien. "The amount of work involved in keeping up-to-date with an array of open source communities is not trivial. This is why I've tried to compact much of this information into easily accessible recipes."

The recipes in the Jakarta Commons Cookbook provide a survey of these open source tools using the practical problem/solution format of O'Reilly's popular Cookbook series. The recipes provide the information developers need to start using Commons in a few minutes. The accompanying Discussion and See Also sections give readers an opportunity to dig deeper into the motivation behind each component if they need more information. Here's a partial listing of the Commons projects and components the book covers:

  • Additions to the core Java language, including string and date manipulation, string encoding, and parameter validation
  • Support for XML, from parsing and document generation to Xpath support to indexing XML documents with a search engine
  • Templating frameworks that allow developers to go beyond the basics of JSP
  • Utilities for working with FTP, SMTP, POP, NNTP, http, and WebDAV
  • New approaches to programming using functors, including predicates, closures, transformers, and functors as a replacement for control structures such as for and while
  • New collections and collections utilities, including an LRU Map, predicted collections, typed collections for Java 1.4, filtering iterators, and set operations
  • The extensive JavaBean Jakarta Commons, from transforming beans to maps to serializing beans to XML
  • New math libraries that provide support for matrices, complex numbers, and linear regression
  • Instructions for using Jakarta Commons components with Maven and Ant
  • Logging, encoding, and object pools
  • The tools introduced in Jakarta Commons Cookbook will save developers significant time and provide them with a set of alternatives which they may not currently be aware of. "I wish I had read a book like this five years ago," O'Brien says. "It would have accelerated my learning and helped me to avoid some costly design decisions." Part structured reference, part prose, the Cookbook format lets readers customize their learning experience. It's the indispensable resource for those who want to get started using the Jakarta Commons libraries as well as those who'd like a comprehensive guide to keep close at hand.

    Additional Resources:

    Jakarta Commons Cookbook
    Timothy M. O'Brien
    ISBN: 0-596-00706-X, 377 pages, $44.95 US, $65.95 CA
    order@oreilly.com
    1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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