Writing - Non Fiction - Books & Manuals - JSP, JSF, and Tomcat (superseded)

Beginning JSPTM, JSFTM, and TomcatTM Web Development: From Novice to Professional
by Giulio Zambon with Michael Sekler

ISBN: 978-1-59059-904-4
Publisher: Apress of Berkeley (CA).
Publication date: 2007-11-28. Pages: 448.

List price: USD 39.99
Available from (2011-04-10):
    amazon.com in print USD 25.85; Kindle edition USD 17.28
    booktopia.com.au AUD 42.80
    fishpond.com.au AUD 45.52
    thenile.com.au AUD 48.49

Two new editions of this book were released in 2012 and 2020.

You can download the detailed table of contents in PDF format by clicking here

Back-cover blurb

This book tells you what you need to know to develop Java-based web applications with JavaServer Pages (JSP), JavaServer Faces (JSF), and Tomcat.

In less than one and a half decades, the Web has become a platform capable of delivering complex and powerful applications. At the same time, a bewildering variety of technologies and products has been introduced, all jostling for recognition and market share.

We decided to write this manual on the basis of two considerations: one technical and one human in nature. The technical consideration was that the alignment of JSP 2.1 and JSF 1.2 achieved with Java Platform, Enterprise Edition 5 (Java EE 5), and the subsequent release of Servlet 2.5 and Tomcat 6, had finally realized full consistency across the whole platform. The human consideration was that, although a lot of information and documentation was available by searching the Web, there was a need for a compendium capable of taking a reader through all the steps necessary to build a Java-based web application.

In our endeavor to cover all the subjects you'll need, we included chapters dedicated to JSP, html, databases, JSF, Tomcat, and XML, and sections on Java and HTTP. We also touched on Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), JavaScript, Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (Ajax), and Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) and provided detailed references for JSP, html, JSF, and SQL. This is a practical manual driven by examples rather than by abstract concepts. Nevertheless, we have consistently justified and explained every step taken and every choice made throughout the book. You'll also discover useful tips and tricks to make your programming life easier.

If you keep coming back to this book to look up techniques and to check out options and features, we will have achieved our goal. Happy programming!


I wrote it in approximately nine months and it was released on November 19th, 2007. It is true that the official authorship is Giulio Zambon with Michael Sekler, but I actually wrote every word and made every figure in it. Initially, I thought I would not have enough time to do it on my own. Therefore, I asked Michael to help me write it. It turned out that Michael provided two of the three major examples and I did the rest. Hence the with in the authorship instead of an and.

The book tells you what you need to know to develop Java-based web applications with JavaServer Pages (JSP) and JavaServer Faces (JSF), and then execute them with the Java web server Tomcat.

I had the idea of writing a book along these lines while I had my own company in Switzerland (SynerVox AG) to provide telecom services. I needed to develop web applications and didn't want to use the widely used LAMP architecture (Linux/GNU operating system, Apache web server, MySQL database, and PHP scripting language). Mainly, I wanted to use Java and didn't want to learn PHP. I discovered that JSP effectively was a scripting version of Java and adopted it, together with Tomcat, to develop my platform. During development, I kept detailed notes on the new techniques I was learning. This was for me almost a must, because the documentation available online was far from being complete and, after struggling to find a solution to a problem, I didn't want to risk to have to re-discover it a week or a month later.

I implemented web applications that were 100% portable from Windows to Linux. I developed each new application on a PC, uploaded software and database files to the server, and everything worked without having to touch a single line of code. And this without spending a penny for the supporting software, because all packages, both for Windows and for Linux, were open source. I thought that others might benefit from it and wrote a booklet with the title Transform your PC into a Java Web Server. I first wrote it in Italian (Trasforma il tuo PC in un web server) because most material about open source software is normally in English, and Italians (like German and French people) often like to read in their own language. I proposed it to Hoepli, one of the best known publishers of manuals in Italy. They showed interest and I went to Milan for a face-to-face with one of their editors. Unfortunately, they decided they were not really interested.

I translated a couple of chapters into English and proposed the book to Apress of Berkely. I had this opportunity thanks to Tiago Diaz, a colleague of mine at World Television, who introduced me to one of their editors. Apress was not interested in publishing my book, but they must have liked what they saw, because they proposed me to write for them. They suggested a couple of titles, one of which was the book I then wrote.

Barnes & Noble's editorial review said (by Bill Camarda, from the January 2008 Read Only):
Together, JavaServer Pages, Tomcat, and JavaServer Faces have evolved into a remarkably powerful web development platform. This book teaches you all of these technologies from the ground up, no experience needed. You'll jump in fast. You'll install all the packages you need (directions are provided, and the software's free). After the authors explain how JSP-based applications are organized, you'll walk through a non-trivial sample application. Then, step by step, using one complete e-commerce case study, you'll master each key skill you'll need: architecting applications with MVC; essential web page scripting; database access; working with JSF and XML; and deploying applications via the new Tomcat 6. Finally, drill down into your application: What happens when it starts? How does it handle requests, display content, manage shopping carts, accept orders? What does its style sheet look like? There's no better way to grasp the realities of production web development.

I am very happy with the result, but if you are wondering whether the royalties on this book made me rich, please don't. I expected to sell more than 10,000 copies. Perhaps twice as much. This would have not made me a novel Tom Clancy, but it would have at least provided a reasonable compensation for the lot of work I put into writing the book. In reality, between the beginning of November 2007 (when the book was offered for online reservation) and the end of 2010, the book only sold around 3,500 copies, of which about 300 were in eBook format.

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