The End of the Beginning
This concludes the overview of JSP, JDBC, and servlet technology. We haven't covered everything in the standards, by any means, but we'll pick up the rest as we go through developing the sample application.
This chapter discussed servlets as they represent an evolution away from CGI toward more persistent and developer-friendly technologies. However, even with all of a servlet's functionality, it is JSP that allows you to produce HTML with greater ease than developing pure servlet-based applications.
And because you use the same servlet objects in JSP pages, it's important to understand how servlets work. The servlet objects also can be used to get cookies and other user state information and to redirect or generate errors.
From this point on, things focus a lot more on how to do specific things and a lot less on general technology. But before we dive into the how-to, we're going to spend a little time talking about the what-tothe things you need to have in place before you begin, such as object design, the database schema, and a good understanding of the user requirements.
In Chapter 4, "The Sample Application Functional Requirements Document," you'll be introduced to the Books for Geeks company. We're going to look at their preliminary design for an e-commerce Web site, decide what questions to ask, and create a functional requirements documents (FRD). One of the things that I've learned through painful experience is that if you don't thoroughly understand what the customer needs and expects, you're heading toward disaster before you even begin to code.
If you're going to become a proficient JSP developer, you'll need a more in-depth knowledge of JSP and servlets than has been presented here. A good place to start is with the JSP and servlet JavaDoc and specifications, which are included with the code on the Web site (http://www.samspublishing.com). You will see a lot more of this technology later in the book, but it will be solely the pieces needed to code the application.