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Java Unleashed

ISBN 1575210495 / 9781575210490 / 1-57521-049-5

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Book summary

It's big, it contains a fair amount of extraneous material, and some of its contents are out of date, but many parts of Java Unleashed are clear, informative, and useful to the programmer who wants to add Java to his or her tool kit. If you're willing to do some sifting--and particularly if you have some C or C++ experience--this book will satisfy you.

Starting with the usual "Hello, World" application, the authors explain the fundamentals of the Java language--universal stuff that won't change much as different versions of the language come out. They cover variables, operators, control structures, classes, packages, and the rest of the stuff you need to understand in order to make things happen. Later chapters take on more complicated subjects, like threads, exceptions, applets, and the special considerations involved in programming for a networked environment.

Pleasantly, the authors chose to include a section on JavaScript, a much simpler language that programmers can use to write interfaces for Java applets. Unfortunately, there's no coverage of LiveConnect, which is the scheme by which JavaScript and Java communicate.

Java Unleashed suffers from the usual faults of huge, multiauthor books, including disparities among the authors' writing styles and some short chapters on huge subjects (like VRML). Further, this book centers on Java 1.0, which isn't awful--browsers support Java 1.0 with stability--but it's hardly cutting-edge. A companion CD-ROM boasts Sun's JDK 1.0 and Symantec's Visual Café Lite, as well as some plug-ins and editing tools. --David Wall [via]