Spring in Action by Craig Walls, Ryan Breidenbach
Paperback: 472 pages
Publisher: Manning Publications (February 11, 2005)
To me, the ultimate compliment I can offer a book or an author is that I wish I had written this book. Spring in Action is just an incredibly well written book that does a great job of giving its reader a great introduction to Spring and all the facets that make it such a great framework and container. I wish I had written this book or I wish I could write this well.
The authors have really done a great job in explaining every little detail about Spring where you really get the feeling that you really know Spring after reading this book. Unlike code-specific books, this book doesn’t overwhelm you with code. Don’t get me wrong – there is more that enough code in the book and a snippet of code typically follows after detailed explanation of a particular concept. Spring Live on the other hand takes a code driven approach where you learn Spring by actually writing code. I also happen to love Spring Live but I prefer Spring in Action as I want to really understand what is going on under the covers and all the concepts rather than just learning how to write Spring code. I’m vastly oversimplifying Spring Live as it is also a pretty nice book, but I hope you get the analogy I am trying to make here.
Spring in Action starts off with an introduction to Spring, beans and the bean factory. Having used Spring for more than a year, I assumed I really knew all the ins and outs of wiring beans and I learned quite a lot in the first 3 chapters. I really love the writing style and the humor sprinkled in throughout the book makes this a really easy read. I’ve already re-read this book several times and I just re-read it again while flying from Miami to Chicago, thanks to the 2 hour early arrival. The writing just flows and the explanations are clear as the book moves from AOP to Data Access, Transactions.
I also wanted to make an explicit comment about the chapter on Spring’s AOP framework. This chapter does a great job in explaining Spring’s AOP framework and where appropriate, points out differences with AspectJ and other AOP frameworks. Having used AspectJ and AspectWerz before, I found it very easy to pick up the AOP framework in Spring. Besides, when you can use The Simpsons in a programming exercise, it can’t be that bad, right?
If you are looking for a great Spring book, do yourself a favor and pick up Spring in Action. You will not be disappointed. There are quite a few Spring titles out there and there are good and bad among them. There is a typical rush to the market from the book publishers and there are a lot of average-to-poor books out there. If you really want to learn and use Spring, pick up this book now.