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Books in Brief: A Linux quick start for Windows programmers

A review of Linux Application Development for the Enterprise by Satya Sai Kolachina

If you are an enterprise application developer, it’s a good bet that at some point you will be asked to write an application that runs on a Linux box. If all your experience up to that point is on Windows machines or mainframes, you will have to come up to speed quickly on Linux tools and development concepts. This book can help you do that.

Kolachina starts at the most basic level -- describing how Linux systems differ from Windows systems. The emphasis is on how the file systems differ, and the utilities that a programmer would use to maintain his or her Linux system. A discussion of process execution, forking and interprocess communication is also included; these are all concepts that are at the core of Linux.

From there, Kolachina branches into a discussion of Linux editors and shell scripting. This is all pretty basic material -- how to use the vi editor and write shell scripts, for example -- but Windows programmers need to know this kind of information if they are going to develop Linux applications. It’s also material that they probably have little or no experience with. While the information here will not make you an expert on these topics, it is enough to get you started.

Building on this discussion, Kolachina talks about the basics of object-oriented programming. Included are discussions of Object Pascal, C++ and Java, as well as how each of these languages implement object orientation. Again, the material provided will not make you an expert on OO programming, but it’s certainly enough to get you started, and it will give you an appreciation of how these languages developed and how they differ.

The final two chapters of the book concentrate on Java. The first of these chapters describes how to build distributed Java applications, while the second one describes how to build Java Web applications. Because Java is not limited to a single platform, this material applies to more than just Linux systems.

As a Web developer, I found the chapter “Web Development Using J2EE” to be especially interesting. It succinctly describes how all the pieces of the J2EE architecture, including Java servlets, Java Server Pages (JSP) and Enterprise JavaBeans (EJBs), fit together.

A minor fault is that throughout the book, Kolachina emphasizes the use of Borland tools, such as Kylix 3 and JBuilder 8. While these are very good development tools, if your company uses different tools for its Linux application development, you won’t find the examples as useful as they could be. This is only a minor quibble, though, over what otherwise is a fine book.

Linux Application Development for the Enterprise by Satya Sai Kolachina. Charles River Media, Hingham, Mass., 2003.

About the Author

Dan Romanchik is an engineering manager turned writer and Web developer. His current passion is amateur radio. You can read his amateur radio blog at www.blurty.com/~kb6nu.

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