July 10, 2001
"Java Cookbook" Aims to be the Best "Second" Java Book Around
Sebastopol, CA--If you've ever reached for a cookbook, you know that
you usually have a fair idea of what you'd like to accomplish before
you start--you're just looking for instructions on how to get it done.
Your cookbook will assume a certain knowledge, that you know how to
preheat your oven and boil water, for example. The best cookbooks will
offer a little of everything from "tried and true" recipes that any
cook might want, to useful but trickier techniques you've heard about
but never attempted. Author Ian F. Darwin provides this same sort of
all-around resource for Java developers in his just-released
(O'Reilly,US $44.95). Patterned after the best-selling Perl Cookbook,
the Java Cookbook is a collection of hundreds of solutions
to problems that Java programmers frequently face.
The Java Cookbook offers developers a comprehensive collection of
short, focused pieces of code that can easily be incorporated into
other programs. Darwin's emphasis is on techniques that are useful,
tricky, or both. Recipes range from simple tasks, such as getting one's
CLASSPATH right and reading information from the environment, to entire
problems that demonstrate how to put XML to work or incorporate email
into an application.
"The reader of this book should know the syntax and basic ideas of
Java, but have a pressing need to get down to using it in a particular
(probably medium to large scale) application, in which a lot of
different APIs need to be applied quickly," explains Darwin. "They'll
be able to learn about and apply a wide variety of APIs, some of which
are new to Java, like Regular Expressions. They'll find out about most
of the standard APIs, and some obscure points about how to use them.
And, of course, they'll be able to copy and paste code examples to make
use of these things."
Darwin adds, "There are many introductory books, and many good
advanced, topic-specific Java books. First and foremost,
Java in a
Nutshell by Dave Flanagan offers a brief overview of the language and
API, and a detailed reference to the most essential packages.
Java by Patrick Niemeyer and Joshua Peck contains a slightly more
leisurely introduction to the language and the API. The Java Cookbook
is unique because it aims to be the best second Java book for
The recipes in the Java Cookbook are the product of years of
learning, experimenting and fine-tuning the contents of the author's
own javasrc directory. After developing and teaching courses in Java,
Darwin found that the directory had grown so large it required numerous
subdirectories, and soon it became evident to Darwin that some kind of
documentation was needed. Darwin claims, "Once this body of code
reached a certain critical mass, it spontaneously ignited into the idea
for a Java book."
Topics covered in the Java Cookbook
include compiling, running and
debugging Java programs; interacting with the environment; strings and
pattern matching; servlets and JSP; developing network clients and
servers; distributed programming; internationalization, and much more.
Whether developers choose to use the cookbook's recipes directly, as a
source of ideas, or as a way to learn a little more about Java and what
they can do with it, they will find that the Java Cookbook will
become an essential part of their library.
By Ian F. Darwin
ISBN 0-596-00170-3, 850 pages, $44.95 (US)
O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.
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