Java in a Nutshell - A Desktop Quick Reference
by David Flanagan

Java in a Nutshell - A Desktop Quick Reference
David Flanagan
610 pages
With the latest Java version 1.1 a lot of new features are introduced into the Java language opposed to the previous 1.0 version. Suppose your already programmed in Java 1.0, but want to get up to date with the new version. Java in a Nutshell is just for you. It describes all the new features of Java 1.1 in a clear way. But if you are starting with Java, this book will be a good one for you, too, especially if you have a C or C++ programming background.

The book consists of five parts and 32 chapters. The first four parts cover Java as a language, the features and more. Part five contains the API Quick Reference.

The first part gives the reader an introduction to Java. The second chapter gives programmers with a C or C++ programming experience the differences and similarities between Java and C or C++. The third chapter, Classes and Objects in Java, covers the object oriented features of Java. What a class is made up of, how to create them, constructors, methods, class variables, modifiers; everything is covered in this chapter.

The next part is dedicated to the new features introduced in Java 1.1. Chapter 4 introduces the new APIs of Java 1.1. Of every new API a short description is given. A lot of the APIs are more detailed described in the rest of the book. Java 1.1 also introduces some new syntax to the programmer, for example inner classes. Chapter 5 covers this topic. The new features are explained with clear examples.

Part three, Programming with Java 1.1 API, contains programming examples and more detailed descriptions of the APIs available in Java 1.1. This part is divided into 7 different chapters, each dedicated to a special part of the Java API. Chapter 6, the first chapter of this part, covers applets. By starting with a simple introduction to applets with a Hello World applet to a more sophisticated applet at the end of the chapter. One of the biggest changes in Java 1.1 in respect to 1.0 is the event model. It changed for the better and the next chapter explains all the differences and how to use this new event model in your applications. But there is also a section describing the 1.0 event model in case you have to program applets for browsers with a Java 1.0 version. Chapter 8 highlights the following new features to be found in the AWT: the ScrollPane component, popup menus and menu shortcuts, printing and data transfer through cut-and-paste. Object Serialization, the possibility for a class to read and write itself to a stream, is covered in chapter 9. The Java Beans API, is an important expansion of the Java language. It provides a framework for writing reusable, modular software components. Chapter 10 describes how to write Java Beans. By beginning to define a simple bean and adding more and more features to it, from BeanInfo class to Customizer classes, the reader gets a clear picture about beans and how to write them. Java 1.1 provides the programmer the possibility to internationalize his or hers application and make it flexible to run in any locale. There are different steps to make your applications international. Chapter 11 describes every step and the mechanisms used by Java to realize the internationalization. In Java 1.1 a Java program is able to inspect and manipulate itself by the Reflection API. Chapter 12, Reflection. covers the Reflection API and shows us examples on how to use reflection.

Part four contains reference material to the Java language, Java-related HTML tags and the JDK tools. The first chapter of this part contains summary tables for the Java syntax. The next chapter describes how to use system properties as environment variables in your applications. Chapter 15 gives an overview of all the possible parameters in the Java HTML tag. And finally in chapter 16 every command-line tool shipped with the JDK is described with explanation of all possible options.

Part five is the real heart of this book as the author states it. The quick-reference material for the Java API is covered in this part. Chapters 17 to 31 describe the different packages of the Java API. You can off course use the Java API documentation provided with the JDK, but the book contains more information and is easier to search through. Chapter 32 contains a complete index of all the classes, methods and fields to make it more easy to find the information you are looking for.

Java in a Nutshell is a excellent book with a lot of information in it. It really is handy as a quick-reference book when you are programming Java applets and applications. And for the relatively low price you get real great value on your desktop.

(Hubert A. Klein Ikkink)

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