Book review – Getting started with Google Guava

As a big fan of the Google Guava library, I was very happy when I’ve got a chance to review this new book from Packt Publishing – “Getting started with Google Guava“. The book has 120 pages of content and is available in several formats from the major internet book stores.

The book covers a lot of a quite big library which Google Guava is. From the basics like Function, Collections and Files to more advanced topics like Concurrency and the Event bus.

The book is of the series “Community experience distilled”. The series name is a good description of the book content. The content is very distilled. Each feature of Guava is explained in a “keyword, short description, example, summary” fashion. This is by no means a weakness of the book – if you have the right attitude. If you are looking for a quick run over the library main features along with code examples, and you want to just scratch the surface, this book is for you. But if you require some more in depth description you will be possibly disappointed.

Personally for me, the book would be a lot better if it could introduce some more context in each chapter describing a part of the library. Speaking of the context I mean i.e in the part about functional programming – what is functional programming, what are the benefits of using it etc. It would be more beneficial for the (assumed) target of the book – novice programmers who want to get some good understanding of Guava. Also the book misses a chapter on good practices – what kind of patterns to avoid,what is especially important in scope of the Collections being the most used part of the library.

While reading the book, the most irritating part of the experience was looking at the example code. In my opinion the samples in the book were just to big and maybe to detailed, often they would span through pages, which doesn’t help when reading.

Enough complaining, what are the good parts ?

  1. The book is concise and a light read – it took me maybe about 2h to read it
  2. It covers a big part of the library
  3. Personally I’ve learned about some things that I didn’t knew ­čśë
  4. The full code can be used as a copy-paste resource for experimenting with different solutions

Summary – a seasoned developer will be disappointed but the book could be useful for novices.


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