978-0-471-60696-3 / 9780471606963

Developing Java Software, 2nd Edition





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About the book:

Java has the advantage of being platform agnostic, free, object-oriented and based on current best practice. Interestingly, the authors of Developing Java Software say they will teach you to develop software in Java starting with objects and working down to individual elements of the language rather than the more usual reverse approach. They don't quite pull this off because, without some knowledge of operators, structures and syntax you can't do anything at all with an object, however elegantly implemented. However, this approach does leave the authors with a goal-oriented approach, which works well.

In effect, they approach Java program development from the point of view of a working programmer, more interested in achieving an end than in the philosophical underpinnings of the means. However, this isn't a Java cookbook, but rather more of a self-teach or course book. Each chapter is largely self contained and ends with a series of tasks, for some of which sample solutions can be found online. The main thrust of Developing Java Software is, if anything, creating well-documented, efficient and robust Java programs suitable for real world use. To this end it emphasises good style, error handling, defensive programming, testing, testing and testing.

Developing Java Software is particularly strong on programming with graphical interfaces. Almost all programs intended for end users must now work graphically with familiar GUI components. The authors demonstrate the GUI basics but go well beyond them into practical problems, such as graphing data, layout managers and even a simple text editor. Toward the end of the book the authors tackle a number of larger problems, including mail merge, a pedestrian crossing simulator (with author errors included as an object lesson--sic) and ants. The last is fun as well as informative. This well-designed book is a perfect place to start learning about Java for anyone confident enough to install the JDK. The only complaint is JDK2 doesn't come with it.--Steve Patient

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