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Book Reviews

Microsoft .NET and J2EE Interoperability Toolkit
I wanted to read this book before it was ever announced. At the time, I was just beginning work on a project here at Expand Beyond to connect our Java-based application server, the XBAnywhere Server, with our .NET-based Web service, the Windows Gateway. I read an article written by Simon Guest about using WS-Security between Java and .NET, but wanted more information. I contacted him at Microsoft and was told, "There's a book coming - be patient!"

 Several months later, I received the book and eagerly began reading. I wasn't disappointed. Whether you are writing Java clients for .NET servers, .NET clients for Java servers, or what Guest terms a "resource interoperability solution" (meaning shared access to common resources), there is plenty in this book to keep your efforts informed and on track.

The practical content starts on Page 52, where Guest shows how to automatically generate XML Schemas (XSD files) for both Java and .NET classes to enable seamless sharing of objects between the two platforms via XML serialization. If you are already well acquainted with the inner workings of both Java and .NET, you can probably safely skip to this point, reading the material before this on a purely as-needed basis.

I skipped Chapters 4, 8, 9, and 10 because they deal with commercial products that aren't applicable to any of the work I am likely to do in the near future. However, by skimming the contents I feel pretty comfortable saying that those of you interested in interoperating with .NET Remoting, WebSphere MQ, or mainframes will find plenty of value in these chapters.

The material that was of most direct interest to me was in chapters 13-15, where Guest demonstrates - with actual source code provided on the accompanying CD - how to achieve WSA interoperation using tools currently available on both .NET and Java. WSA is the successor to the previous GXA (Global XML Web Services Architecture) standards and stands for Web Services Architecture. It is embodied in the suite of standards you hear a lot about in Web services circles lately, with names like WS-Security, WS-Routing, etc.

Specifically, I wanted to figure out how to use WS-Security to avoid requiring the installation of an SSL certificate on a .NET Web service. The challenge was in getting a Java client to work with WS-Security so soon after the ratification of this standard. Thankfully, Guest has resolved this issue by using a particularly advanced (and free for most commercial uses) Java tool called GLUE. The time he saved me by showing detailed code implementing WS-Security using this tool and a .NET Web service more than justified both the time and money I spent for this book!

To further whet your appetite for this book, a downloadable excerpt is available from www.sys-con.com/dotnet.

Title: Microsoft .NET and J2EE Interoperability Toolkit
Author: Simon Guest
Publisher: Microsoft Press
ISBN: 0735619220
List Price: $59.99
Rating: ****1/2*
Reviewer: Derek Ferguson

Reviewer bio: Derek Ferguson is editor-in-chief of .NET Developer's Journal and author of the book Mobile .NET (Apress). He is also chief technology evangelist for Expand Beyond Corporation (www.xb.com), a worldwide leader in mobile software for enterprise management.

How to Do Everything with Javascript
What is a review of JavaScript doing in a magazine devoted to .NET? Well, JavaScript is not going to go away anytime soon. There are many, many things that are just not practical to do on the server side (such as responding to mouseover events). As Scott Duffy points out, this book "is designed to help anyone interested in adding elements of interactivity to their personal Web pages." In fact, all of the ASP.NET validation controls generate both client-side and server-side code. The client-side code uses a JavaScript file called WebUIValidation.js to perform the validations. The file can be found in a directory similar to this one: Microsoft.NET\Framework\v1.0.3705\ASP.NETClientFiles.

 The book is divided into three parts. The first covers the basics of JavaScript; the second shows you how to integrate JavaScript into a Web site; and the third covers advanced JavaScript topics, including debugging techniques.

This book is a very good primer for JavaScript. It covers both JavaScript 1.5 and the currently unreleased JavaScript 2.0. In addition, because JavaScript 2.0 is much more object oriented than previous versions, it serves as a good reinforcement for the object-oriented concepts you will be learning while mastering VB.NET.

The writing is clear and concise, with good, simple examples throughout the book. Since JavaScript is tightly aligned with HTML, there is a nice review chapter on HTML as well. The book is thorough in its topics, covering such relevant ideas as browser compatibility, debugging, and plug-ins. The book covers the issue of handling the differences between Internet Explorer and Netscape but makes the interesting observation that Internet Explorer has now captured about 96% of the browser market.

This book is not a repository of neat JavaScript routines you can implement; it is a nice basic primer that gives you a good feel for what JavaScript can do, how it interacts with HTML, and how the new object-oriented version contains many concepts similar to VB.NET. There is a lot of good supplementary information, along with links to valuable Web sites.

Title: How to Do Everything with JavaScript
Author: Scott Duffy
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
ISBN: 0072228873
List Price: $24.99
Rating: ****
Reviewer: Steven Mandel

Reviewer bio: Steven Mandel has worked in the IT industry for more than 15 years. Steven is a technology consultant with The SAVO Group of Chicago, a firm that combines marketing and technology expertise to develop custom-built, cost-effective, customer-focused solutions for marketing, sales, and relationship management teams.

More Stories By Derek Ferguson

Derek Ferguson, founding editor and editor-in-chief of .Net Developer's Journal, is a noted technology expert and former Microsoft MVP.

More Stories By Steven Mandel

Steven Mandel has worked in the IT industry for over 15 years designing databases using Microsoft Access and SQL Server. He has developed Web and Windows applications using VB.NET and has written numerous articles and reviews about ASP.NET and VB.NET.

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