<pre>Author/s : W. Clay Richardson, Donald Avondolio, Scot Schrager, Mark W. Mitchell, Jeff Scanlon Publisher : Wrox Review :Link Reviewed by : Michael Ernest Rating : 6 horseshoes</pre> Professional Java attempts something I don't think one book can do well, which is to say something useful on every topic. This book's sections include: updates to JDK 5; project methodologies; design patterns; build tools; persistence tools; UIs; web applications; JNI; EJB 3; SOA; security; and packaging and deployment. It wants to be a "one-stop shop," and that's fine, but I can't tell who the target shopper is.
Topic coverage varies wildly, in writing style, quality and in the effectiveness of sample code to illustrate the point. Too many descriptions are verbose and phrased in the passive voice. Some code samples seem like a brief sketch rather than a compelling example. Still other samples seem mostly boilerplate code that speeds up the page-turning but doesn't illuminate. And sometimes the text abruptly changes diction, for example from objective description to a "follow-along" coaching style. Some sentences sound like the author left them in as to-do reminders.
The result is a thick book that, for me, is sometimes tedious or exhausting to read. I think it would have been helpful to credit each author by chapter, if only to know when the presentation style might change so much. Also, a concerted effort at paring things down, and keeping the diction clear and active, throughout the text, would make it more readable and worth referencing.
This book might be handy if you just need many topics covered in one place.