Getting Started with Google Guava - review

Getting Started with Google Guava” isn’t a bad book to get you started with Google Guava - indeed, it’d probably be quite hard to write a bad book on Guava given just how good a library Guava is.

And the author, Bill Bejeck, has, on balance, done a pretty good job of covering the all the most important classes provided by the library, without getting too bogged down in any of them. That’s to his credit; I could easily imagine an author spending too much time on a particular personal favourite of the library.

Still, you’ll need to be a reasonably competent developer to get the most out of this book. This isn’t a book that provides lengthy tutorials on functional programming for example. But the examples that the author provides generally make sense (even if they are often rather shallow). As a reasonably competent developer myself, I did enjoy learning about some of the nooks and crannies of Guava that I might not have discovered quite so easily. I didn’t know that Guava had a Table collection class for example, and I think that the FluentIterable class might simplify some code I’ve written recently.

On the other hand, I don’t write that much multi-threaded code (thankfully!), and so the Concurrency chapter didn’t really help me understand when I might want to use a FutureCallback vs a ListenableFuture. And when reading the coverage of Sinks and Sources in the Files chapter, the examples didn’t explain well enough why these abstractions are useful.

There were also quite a few typos in the book, including in class names. In a similar vein, quite a lot of the indentation of code samples was also inconsistent. The book said it’d use JUnit tests throughout to illustrate the usage; but I can tell you it didn’t. And the grammar in some of the sentences was somewhat sloppy and could have benefitted from a bit more copy-editing. The feeling was of a book written a little too quickly.

But overall, I’d give this book 7 out of 10. If by reading it you end up using Guava a bit more in your day-to-day programming - and I think that you will - then it’s done its job.

Disclaimer: I was asked to review this ebook (and received a free copy) off the back of a blog post a while back I did on Guava myself.

October 06, 2013 book-review guava