The last couple of days I had the chance to review a copy of "JBoss in Action" by Javid Jamae and Peter Johnson. An interview of the authors can be found on DZone. You can take a peek at the table of contents here.
The book is about JBoss Application Server 5, although a big part of it would apply to previous JBoss 4.x releases, as well. The authors did their best to keep the book up-to-date with the latest developments in AS5, and we (the JBoss developers) did our best to make their lives difficult by continuously making changes to AS5, even days before the final release (sorry guys!).
The subtitle of the book, "Installation, configuration and deployment" is characteristic of the book content. This is not a book about Java EE application design or programming, this is a book about understanding how JBoss AS is structured and how to optimally use it to run your own applications.
I believe the book would be particularly useful to newbies, administrators, or seasoned developers with experience in other application server who want to find their way around JBoss AS. But it would also be interesting to developers familiar with JBoss AS who want to configure, deploy and secure their applications, while getting an overall understanding of the different server subsystems (Web Server, Messaging Service, Web Services, etc.), as well as the various enterprise aspects (Security, Transactions, Clustering, etc.). There is even a bonus section referring to JBoss Portal.
This is not to say that every subsystem is analyzed in extreme detail; that would most probably require writing an encyclopedia, as JBoss is really the collection of a large number of projects and technologies. Small inaccuracies are also bound to happen. Opensource projects are known to move faster than their documentation while the code remains the ultimate reference.
What I mostly liked about the book is its pragmatic approach in addressing the most common issues a developer is likely to face. And this was driven mainly by Peter being one of the most active members on the JBoss User Forums, researching and providing practical answers to questions posted by other members of the JBoss community. It is possible that you, without knowing, might have helped in the writing of this book.
I've found very useful the chapters devoted to securing your applications, a task that every developer will sooner or later need to consider, as well as the whole "Going to production" section with practical advise on the often misunderstood subjects of clustering and tuning.
A highly recommended book overall.