Spring in Practice – by Willie Wheeler and Joshua White
TLDR; This is an excellent and comprehensive guide to advanced usage of the Spring framework. For anyone who is looking to further their knowledge gained from several years of Spring development in the trenches, this book will pay dividends. Although a Spring novice may be able to learn about Spring from this book, I would recommend picking up a copy of Spring in Action first, as the ‘In practice’ books can be quite fast paced!
As a seasoned Java developer I have been working with the Spring framework for many years now. One of the first Spring books I read was Spring in Action, and in combination with Java Persistence with Hibernate this book has helped me complete many successful projects (I seriously owe the authors a few beers!). From the grounding provided in these book, and in combination with the excellent Spring Source website, I have been able to explore and develop my skills as the Spring framework has expanded – for example, the Spring Data project is now my go-to framework for all things NoSQL related. However, I always enjoy learning from advanced Spring practitioners and also from reading stories about real-world use and abuse of the framework, and I have yet to find a good book that meets this need – until now. ‘Spring in Practice’ satisfies this gap in the market perfectly.
The book is ~500 pages, and it manages to cram in a lot of content. Advanced usage of all the main Spring components is covered, and covered well. The first nine chapters provide a great grounding and advanced look at topics such as data persistence (ORM), Spring MVC, Web Flow and Security. The remaining chapters deep-dive into topics such as Integration Testing and Enterprise Integration (REST, RabbitMQ and IMAP integration etc), and really focus on how to write good (high-quality) code for the common but difficult tasks.
As the title suggests, the book’s focus is very much about practical usage of Spring. It’s not quite in the ‘cookbook’ style you may have seen with other books, but IMHO, this book is better organised for general learning (i.e. reading the book from cover to cover). The obvious advantage with a cookbook style reference is that it’s easy to cherry-pick solutions to problems, but I find that cookbooks can be difficult to read through if you simply want to learn. ‘Spring in Practice’ is logically structured, the book is nicely paced for the advanced developer, and the discussions of real-world problems and the related code sample solutions seek to further your knowledge and encourage exploration of Spring.
As mentioned above, I have worked with Spring for several years, but this book has taught me lot of new tricks – there’s nothing like finding a section of the book that leads to a ‘no way, Spring does that?’ moment 🙂 The author’s clearly have their own style of developing in Spring, and I personally would chose to do some things differently (e.g. I code the production of XML/JSON differently), but I can’t argue that what they’ve done isn’t best practice, and with a framework as large and wide-scoped as Spring, there is bound to be many approaches to do the same thing.
In summary, this is an excellent book, and one that should be on the bookshelf of any serious Spring developer. It will help deepen knowledge gained from ‘Spring in Action’, and also help to augment skills honed from time in the development trenches. I can almost guarantee that anyone who picks up a copy of this book, no matter how advanced they are, will learn something new. As you’ve no doubt guessed by now, I highly recommend this book, and I would like to offer my congratulations to the authors and Manning for writing a book which has long been needed by advanced Spring practitioners!
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