By Geertjan on Aug 10, 2008
Here's a quick break down of the sections: "Part 1: Getting Started with Wicket" ("What is Wicket?", "The architecture of Wicket", "Setting up a Wicket Project", "Creating a cheesy Wicket application"), "Part 2: Getting a basic grip on Wicket" ("Understanding models", "Using basic components", "Using forms for data entry", "Composing your pages"), "Part 3: Advanced Wicket" ("Creating Custom Components", "Working with Wicket resources", "Rich Components and Ajax", "Authentication and authorization", "Localization", "Multi-tiered architecture", "Putting your application in production", "Component index").
As you can see from the above, it's a very meaty book (375 pages in my review copy). After the first section, which is mostly architectural and introductory, a set of themes are covered in part 2. It's really good that the first of these themes is "Wicket models", since that's just about the most complex area in Wicket, because it is quite foreign to web frameworks. However, if you think of Swing development, then models aren't so foreign anymore. Both in Swing and in Wicket, models serve as abstraction layers for working with data, which is a comparison that could be made more strongly in this book. Each of the models is discussed in great detail with a lot of very practical (and compilable) code snippets throughout.
One quirky aspect of this book is its reliance on cheese as a metaphor for application development. (E.g: "[K]nowing what a lasagna is and how it tastes is not enough to create your own lasagna. You will need to know which ingredients you need, when and how to apply them.") In fact, the example application built in chapter 4 is an on-line cheese store. This is a pretty fun approach and the digressions into the world of cheese, with which most chapters begin, provide useful relief from the intensity of the world of code.
It is a well written book, presented with the enthusiasm that is typical of those who are steeped in everything the framework provides and have the gift of explaining it all, step by step. Both beginners and more advanced Wicket users should grab this one as soon as it is available.