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HF mock exam chapter 4 question / gripe

 
john guthrie
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warning, spoiler below...

page 107 of the HF book, in the "relax" section, says "The exam assumes
you're an HttpServlet developer,", i.e. "you're not expected to know
anything about how you might use servlets with a protocol other than
HTTP." but, based on the mock exam at the end of the chapter, that's
not true. one of the questions asks which of a list of methods are
declared in HttpServletRequest vice ServletRequest (yeah, i missed one,
getMethod() - to be honest, i've never had a need for getMethod()).

if i am just an HttpServlet developer, why would i have a need to know
which methods are actually declared in the superclass? to be honest,
this is the sort of question that really does gripe me, it really smacks
of memorization of useless informattion (or at least monumentally
unimportant - if i ever do stray outside of the realm of HttpServlets
to other kinds of servlets, i promise to look it up again, but until
then, my brain's capacity is finite).
 
Kathy Sierra
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Originally posted by john guthrie:
...To be honest,
this is the sort of question that really does gripe me, it really smacks
of memorization of useless informattion (or at least monumentally
unimportant - if i ever do stray outside of the realm of HttpServlets
to other kinds of servlets, i promise to look it up again, but until
then, my brain's capacity is finite).


I think you're absolutely right to have that attitude about it. I think this question, however, is kind of *right on the edge*. If it were ONLY me writing the real exam, I'd have no questions in there like this, for exactly the reason you stated. But unfortunately a few *do* creep into the real exam.

However, I still stand by my relax You do NOT have to know about developing non-HTTP servlets. Now, you're right in saying, "Well then why should I have to know which are declared in the superclass?" I guess my only (weak) defense on this question is that it was really just a back-door way to see if you were thinking about what IS part of HTTP. In other words, if you think about it as "Which of these things are related to HTTP", then it would be possible to answer that question correctly *without* understanding how to develop non-HTTP servlets, because the three correct answers are all about HTTP-specific things--cookies, headers, and methods. But boy am I reaching here

If you look on page 106, that's where we do talk about how the HTTP sub-interfaces add the HTTPness to it. So the answers in that mock exam question are not about arbitrary memorization; they are about whether you understand what is part of HTTP.

So, you're justified to gripe about it, although I can *kind of* make a case for why it doesn't truly violate my "relax", but more importantly--it does prepare you for the kinds of questions you might get on the exam.

I think my "relax" should have been more explicit. I should have emphasized that while you don't need to know how to develop non-HTTP servlets, you DO need to understand what HTTP brings to the table... something like that.

Anyway, all I can say is we feel your pain on the why-should-I-have-to-memorize-THIS kinds of questions. There aren't very many of those on the real exam (or in the book), but I WISH that I could say there are NONE (and if I were queen of the world, there would BE none--but a few did creep in).

There are a few (although far less than were on the previous 1.3 exam). However, about 80% of the pure memorization questions are questions that LOOK like API or XML tag trivia questions but in REALITY, they are questions which can be answered if you understand what that API or tag is actually *doing*. In other words, you can deduce the answer by knowing the context, without specifically having to memorize things.

So, please forgive us for the ones that are in the book--but we did our best to try to prepare you for the real thing. You CAN be mad at us for a few of the crummy questions on the real exam, but Bryan, Bert, and I will simply blame that on "those other guys" who participated in the exam creation. Surely WE wouldn't have written questions like THAT


I can't believe that I had to look up this chapter in my actual page layout program, because I STILL haven't got a copy of the real book! I'm jealous. Nobody in Denver/Boulder seems to have it yet, although one store now says it'll have it on Friday...

cheers and thanks John,
You will have more of these gripes, I'm afraid, before you're done with the book, and we'll be here with more weak/lame defenses or apologies or explanations
-Kathy
[ September 01, 2004: Message edited by: Kathy Sierra ]
 
john guthrie
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thanks for the useful reply. as with the programmer's cert, i find myself annoyed that there are memorization questions, then later grudgingly admitting that it was a useful exercise to have to learn it all.

funnily, i got the book through serendipity. at the bookstore here in the d.c. suburbs on monday, and there was a lone copy, so i grabbed it. didn't even know it was out. i feel everyone else's pain, especially since i gather this is the only up-to-date study guide (for 1.4)?
 
Bryan Basham
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Hi John,

Kathy's reponse is good, but I would like to add some additional contenxt.

The ServletResponse (and ServletRequest) interface(s) are extremely important in their own right. They provide services that are generic to any protocol used by a web application. For example, the "attribute" methods (getAttribute, setAttribute, removeAttribute) are all in ServletRequest, but are inherited by HttpServletRequest. If we couldn't ask questions about ServletRequest then we would be at a loss to have questions about request-scoped attributes. This is just one example.

HTH,
Bryan
 
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