Category Archives: reviews

Review “Frequently Forgotten Fundamental Facts about Software Engineering”

“Frequently Forgotten Fundamental Facts about Software Engineering” by Robert L. Glass (  summarizes in two pages at least 80% percent of the reasons why software projects fail, in an easy to understand – and easy to believe – manner.

Some conclusions:

  • “Good programmers are up to 30 times better than mediocre programmers”. “Most software tool and technique improvements account for about 5 to 30% increase in productivity and quality”.
    Then why is so much emphasis put on tools, and not on people?
  • “Efficiency is more often a matter of good design than of good coding”.
    Big Up-Front Design might be harmful, but watching the architecture “emerge” as you code is just as wrong.
  • “One of the two most common causes of runaway projects is unstable requirements”. The other is “optimistic estimation”.
    When “managing” means demanding lower estimates and more features, reality often refuses to budge.
  • “Estimation occurs at the wrong time” (that is, when the problem hasn’t been understood yet)
    But it is totally common to demand estimates after a cursory (three day glance) at a management summary, and then treating these numbers like cast in concrete.

It takes only 10 minutes to read the paper, and if you have been working as a developer everything will seem awfully familiar – it isn’t only you seeing the emperor wears no clothes.

Book Review: “Beginning Java EE 6 Platform with GlassFish 3: From Novice to Professional”

Beginning Java EE 6 Platform with GlassFish 3: From Novice to Professional” by Antonio Goncalves (Apress)

Though Java EE never has been an easy subject – 28 JSRs need to be covered – this book is a great introduction and tutorial into Java EE 6. I would rate it the best book on Java EE I’ve read so far, and I’ve read a few (often with considerable pains).

The book is suitable

  • for beginners, because many easy-to-follow but usable examples that build on each other dot the book,
  • and experts (in example, I have EE 1.3/4 experience), because the author points out the changes from previous Java EE versions in summaries and in each chapter

The chapters can be read separately for reference (enough redundancy has been provided), or as a well choreographed read from beginning to end. The book has a good balance between overview and detail: The author spends enough time on complex subjects to enable the reader to understand what is important (in example, object relational mapping is covered by a few chapters) without getting lost in fine details that don’t help comprehension much and that “can be looked up later”.

Keep in mind, though, that to implement Java EE 6 implementations you probably will need more technical information. That is only natural and owed to the complexity of some JSRs: it is simply impossible to cover – in example – JavaServer Faces in a single chapter when there are entire books on the subject, and that for a good reason. But you’ll get pretty far with this book.

I have to admit I never heard of author Antonio Goncalves before, but I sure hope he writes some more books! His writing style is concise, clear, and easy to understand; what a relief. That really is a gift, and makes reading up on EE 6 a breeze.

If you need a book on Java EE 6, buy this one first.

[Taken from my review at Amazon]