1.2 Who Needs This Book?
You do. In fact, you probably need several copies; one for home, one for work, maybe one for the car. They make great gifts as well. Tell the guy behind the counter that there aren't nearly enough copies of this book on display, and that they should be up front instead of that Tom Clancy book.
This book won't teach you Java programming (although it provides lots of opinions about good programming practice), so it's intended for readers who already know at least a little about programming in general and Java in particular. It covers many topics, but not in great depth; so if you're looking for the definitive book on servlets, XML, Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB), or any other topic plucked from the table of contents, look for a book focusing on just that topic. This book is more of a sampler. Each of the technologies that make up Java 2 Enterprise Edition are covered in this book, so it can certainly be used as an introduction to J2EE technology. It also introduces the main concepts and technologies used in Web Services. If you're new to both Web Services and J2EE, then everything in the book should interest you. If you know one but not the other, then you'll want to pick and choose particular topics of interest.
Once I help you understand the set of technologies that you need to know, my goal is to provide enough information so that you can be productive with that technology using just the information presented here. If you need more than the basics, I'll try to point you in the direction of more detailed material on the Web and in other books.