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D: Resources

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D: Resources

Software

The JDK from java.sun.com. Even if you choose to use a third-party development environment, it’s always a good idea to have the JDK on hand in case you come up against what might be a compiler error. The JDK is the touchstone, and if there is a bug in it, chances are it will be well known. Feedback

The JDK documentation from java.sun.com, in HTML. I have never found a reference book on the standard Java libraries that wasn’t out of date or missing information. Although the HTML documentation from Sun is shot-through with small bugs and is sometimes unusably terse, all the classes and methods are at least there. People are sometimes uncomfortable at first using an online resource rather than a printed book, but it’s worth your while to get over this and open the HTML docs first so you can at least get the big picture. If you can’t figure it out at that point, then reach for the printed books. Feedback

Books

Thinking in Java, 2nd Edition. Available as fully-indexed, color-syntax-highlighted HTML on the CD ROM bound in with this book, or as a free download from www.BruceEckel.com. Includes material that didn’t make it into the third edition; see the table of contents in that book for details.

Thinking in Java, 1st Edition. Available as fully-indexed, color-syntax-highlighted HTML on the CD ROM bound in with this book, or as a free download from www.BruceEckel.com. Includes older material and material that was not considered interesting enough to carry through to the second edition. Feedback

Just Java 2, 5th edition by Peter van der Linden (Prentice Hall, 2002). Not only useful but fun. He often takes a similar approach as I do, and doggedly follows a problem through to discover the complete details, so he often has answers you won’t find elsewhere. Feedback

Core Java 2, Volume I—Fundamentals (Prentice-Hall, 1999) and Volume II—Advanced Features (2000), by Horstmann & Cornell.. Huge, comprehensive, and the first place I go when I’m hunting for answers. The book I recommend when you’ve completed Thinking in Java and need to cast a bigger net. Feedback

The Java Class Libraries: An Annotated Reference, by Patrick Chan and Rosanna Lee (Addison-Wesley, 1997). Although sadly out of date, this is what the JDK reference should have been: enough description to make it usable. One of the technical reviewers for Thinking in Java said, “If I had only one Java book, this would be it (well, in addition to yours, of course).” I’m not as thrilled with it as he is. It’s big, it’s expensive, and the quality of the examples doesn’t satisfy me. But it’s a place to look when you’re stuck and it seems to have more depth (and sheer size) than most alternatives. Feedback

Java Network Programming, 2nd Edition, by Elliotte Rusty Harold (O’Reilly, 2000). I didn’t begin to understand Java networking until I found this book. I also find his Web site, Café au Lait, to be a stimulating, opinionated, and up-to-date perspective on Java developments, unencumbered by allegiances to any vendors. His regular updates keep up with fast-changing news about Java. See www.cafeaulait.org. Feedback

Design Patterns, by Gamma, Helm, Johnson and Vlissides (Addison-Wesley, 1995). The seminal book that started the patterns movement in programming. Feedback

Practical Algorithms for Programmers, by Binstock & Rex (Addison-Wesley, 1995). The algorithms are in C, so they’re fairly easy to translate into Java. Each algorithm is thoroughly explained. Feedback

Analysis & design

Extreme Programming Explained, by Kent Beck (Addison-Wesley, 2000). I love this book. Yes, I tend to take a radical approach to things but I've always felt that there could be a much different, much better program development process, and I think XP comes pretty darn close. The only book that has had a similar impact on me was PeopleWare (described later), which talks primarily about the environment and dealing with corporate culture. Extreme Programming Explained talks about programming and turns most things, even recent “findings,” on their ear. They even go so far as to say that pictures are OK as long as you don’t spend too much time on them and are willing to throw them away. (You’ll notice that this book does not have the “UML stamp of approval” on its cover.) I could see deciding to work for a company based solely on whether they used XP. Small book, small chapters, effortless to read, exciting to think about. You start imagining yourself working in such an atmosphere, and it brings visions of a whole new world. Feedback

UML Distilled, 2nd Edition, by Martin Fowler (Addison-Wesley, 2000). When you first encounter UML, it is daunting because there are so many diagrams and details. According to Fowler, most of this stuff is unnecessary, so he cuts through to the essentials. For most projects, you only need to know a few diagramming tools, and Fowler’s goal is to come up with a good design rather than worry about all the artifacts of getting there. A nice, thin, readable book; the first one you should get if you need to understand UML. Feedback



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