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Many Paths

What we’re describing below are a few possible paths that you might take through the book, depending on what you bring to the task—your experience and skills, your patience and persistence. We have tried to pack a lot of useful and practical information into these few chapters, distilling down the most important topics for each subject area. We hope that, even for the most experi- enced of our readers, we still offer, if not some new facts, at least some fresh explanations that might give you new insight into familiar topics.

The Linux Newbie Path

If you are new to Linux, then you’ll want to start with the first two chapters. If you are already experienced in Java, feel free to skip Chapter 3, but you may want at least to skim Chapters 4 and 5. You will definitely want to check out Chapter 7 as we are almost sure that it is something you didn’t know about.

Chapter 8 is another topic you may not have encountered outside of Linux, although CVS is not limited to Linux environments. Beyond that, it will depend on what else you already know. See what other categories, below, might fit your situation.

The Java Newbie Path

If you are new to Java, then be sure to read Chapters 3 and 4, but if you are not already an experienced programmer you should probably bring along another, more introductory text.

Chapters 5 and 10 will give you some good background for choosing your Java development tools. So many Java projects these days are tied to Ant that you should also cover Chapter 9 if you don’t already know the tool.

With your experience in other languages you may have done a lot of unit testing; read about the approach most popular with Java developers in Chapter 13.

The Client-Side Path

Depending on what type of Java development that you hope to do, you may want to concentrate on certain parts of the latter half of the book. Those most interested in the front end or client side should focus on the middle chapters. Of most interest to you will be Chapters 16 and 17. Your client-side emphasis should also include Chapters 18 and 19.

The Server-Side Path

For those with an emphasis on the middle and third tier, or those with a general server emphasis, all of Part IV will be helpful. This is in addition to a solid grounding in the previous chapters in Parts I and II.

The Enterprise Path

The final Part V will discuss enterprise scale software. Such software also typi- cally includes JSP and Servlet software, as covered in Chapters 18, 19, and 20.

For those working at this level, the projects are usually large enough to be staffed with a variety of roles. Even if your role doesn’t include the deployment of the software, we encourage you to read these chapters (20 and 24) so as to get some understanding of what is needed and how it fits together.

Now, let’s get to work, and discover some of the amazing capabilities available to you when you combine two of the most powerful software trends in the history of computing—Java and Linux.