Wrox Press continues their time-honored tradional of piling as many authors into one 1200 page volume that they can in the hopes that they will end up with a definitive treatment of the subject. The authors range from seasoned professionals with real-world experience to pimple-faced hacks with nothing but a year or two of college computer science courses behind them. .... I must confess that I am not sure what I was expecting in these chapters but since JSP Tag Libraries seemed to be one of the more challenging and interesting areas of JSPs I was hoping for some more meaningful, 'meaty' content.
The assembly of these 18 (yes, 18!) authors wind up generating a book that essentially could have been put together with more precision and continuity if it had 15 fewer authors. It very much comes off as a rushed effort, without any tightness whatsoever. The writing style of this second edition can only be described as amateurish. This, fortunately, can be a little easier to swallow if you accept the spirit of the book (in Wrox's words 'Programmer to Programmer'). Take the text as quickly put-together material from programmers that have been through it (even if it was brief or only in school) and you should be fine.
Many unnecessary forward references exist throughout the text and, because of the unusually large number of authors, there is a large amount of repetition in the body of most chapters. The book's page count could also have been greatly reduced had the authors not consistently given condensed introduction to material that ends up being the subject matter for entire chapters later in the book. For example, two early chapters describe the basics of Tag Libraries, only to have them surface as the primary topic of chapters 8 - 11.
The code included throughout the book is variable in quality, as you might expect. The book doesn't pretend to be an academic tome of best practices or a showcase for some top-flight, brilliant programming but you end up thinking that many of the examples could have been made much more effective with more thought put into them. As with many other programming books out there, this one is definitely not without its errors. You'd hope, however, that with the 21 technical reviewers and 3 editors that worked on this book that it would have fared better than most.
In summary, if you take the text for what it is and skip over the segments of fluff and numerous poor code examples I think that most professional programmers new to this technology will find enough material to make the hefty price tag almost worth it (especially if you share it with others on your team!).