Java Book Reviews

Still one of the best introductory texts to Java is Ivor Horton's Beginning Java 2. The book is very well crafted and reassuring to the new Java user - going through the installation of the JDK in a variety of environs. Then readers are quickly given real exercises - a batch application then a browser based applet along with a quick grand tour of the Java syntax. C/C++/C#, PHP and Per developers will see a lot of resemblances and Ivor points out the similarities but also some of the key differences - for example no overloaded operators or multiple inheritance as in C++.

The whole trick in begriming books is to make the examples simple enough but also informative. Ivor strikes a good balance - at the start of the book erring on the side of simplicity; as users get deeper the exercises become practical and challenging. And given the availability of superb free IDEs from, and - readers will have great resources to do the exercises with. But perhaps the best thing about Ivor's book is that after the first 3 chapters, readers can pickup just about anywhere in the book and garner some great tips, insights and Java programming examples while going from AWT through File IO, to Threads and back to Swing.

The next recommended book on Java is Joshua Bloch's Effective Java. This book approaches Java from the point of view that: a) you are familiar with the general syntax and many of the basic class libraries of Java 1.4 - the code of J2SE(Java 2 Standard Edition); b)but readers have only a basic understanding of patterns and object oriented analysis. So the book collects together 57 effective practices grouped into a series of tips or hints.

The hints follow roughly a coding pattern. Big issues first - like coding patterns and method construction when to use serializable, threading and specific exception handling. Then these problems and their resolutions raise more issues -borrowing C constructs like enums and structures back into Java or the use of interface designs. In sort of a woof and weave pattern old issues are examined in new lights and best practices are found to be contingent - not one best way of Java coding but rather dependent on trade-offs between performance and ease of development; or security and complexity of code. Effective Java looks at this class based coding tool in new and innovative ways.

At the University of Michigan - one of the teaching mantras was get the data structure right for your system and all else would fall into place. Jacquie Barker's Beginning Java Objects : from Concepts to Code squarely addresses the key issue of Java development - how to design for not the the data structure (the persistent files and databases surrounding a system) - but also the active objects and methods required.

This book really emphasizes object oriented analysis and design methods for designing Java programs. Two UML analysis methods - Use cases and then Class Diagrams are explored in detail for how they help to design and define a Java program. But this is as far as acquire takes us into the UML - leaving out activity, statechart, deployment and other UML diagramming methods.

The result is a clear and thorough examination of many paths to creating Java objects - both persistent/static and dynamic. This is a design driven approach to developing in Java - what a refreshing viewpoint.

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