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Java Bookshelf

Finding and buying Java books online is great...as long as you know what to look for

Finding and buying Java books online is great...as long as you know what to look for. The thing is in many cases it's not obvious from the book title what the book about (I'll give you some examples below). So visiting a real bookstore can be a much better experience. I'm lucky to work right by a large bookstore, so I have the luxury of visiting this store a couple of times a week. This is how it goes. You slowly move your eyes along the bookshelf...Stop, let me open this one. No hurry. I believe in the chemistry between books and readers: either you like it or not. This very moment. Without even reading it. No rush. Do you know that books are not put on the shelves randomly? Books on hot topics and books by well-established publishers like O'Reilly are always put on the shelves at eye level. When some languages or tools are hot, books start their "career" movement up the store ladder, or rather up the shelf. Three-four years ago, Java books dominated, and then .NET started fighting for space. All of a sudden books on Ruby and AJAX popped up at the level of my belly. Two weeks ago, all Flash 8 books suddenly moved from the floor level to the top shelf...

But let's get back to Java. I'd like to tell you about four recently published Java books. I'll start with excellent books whose titles don't exactly reflect their contents.

Beginning POJOS from APRESS. This book is actually about server-side development with Java. It starts by defining the application to be built, and over the course of the book the author presents the tools and frameworks required for the sample application. After defining the task, he walks you through the architecture of this application, domain model, and use cases. The next stop is development and build tools (Eclipse and Ant). Simple examples and best practice advice make the learning process enjoyable. Data persistence with Hibernate comes next. Only now do POJOs come on stage, and their mapping to the database tables are well explained. EJB3, the Spring framework, testing, everything is here. Finally, there's a good discussion about the role of continuous integration in a project's lifecycle. This is a great book for junior and intermediate Java programmers who care about programming in style and are looking for a good tutorial on Java application development with popular Open Source tools. I own many quality books from APRESS, which has become one of the best publishers of the computer books.

Agile Java Development with Spring, Hibernate, and Eclipse from Sams. This is yet another great book ... if you don't pay too much attention to the title. This book is not a Spring or Hibernate tutorial. It presents an excellent overview of the development process in an enterprise Java shop. The author is an experienced practitioner and this book is a jewel for any Java architect or development manager. You'll learn how to set up the environment, gather business requirements, and build the project deliverables an agile way. The author explains where Spring, Hibernate, build and test tools fit by going through the process of developing a sample Java application. Here and there he sprinkles concise Java or XML code samples that are short enough to not get you carried away with details, but at the same time they help you put all pieces of a Java Enterprise Application puzzle in the right places.

Your best bet is to buy these two books together. What a duo!

Swing Hacks from O'Reilly. O'Reilly occupies the premium bookshelf space for a good reason. It's the best publisher of software books. If you're a Swing developer, stop reading this article and immediately order this book. Amazon sells it for under $19 and at that price it's a steal. It contains 100 hacks, working code samples on various subjects of GUI programming with Swing. You'll find examples of working with tables and trees, file choosers, frames, animated windows, drag-and-drop, various tricks with text and fonts, and work with audio. This book isn't a tutorial, just keep it on your desk and use it as needed.

Java Concurrency in Practice from Addison-Wesley. Let me just give you the names of some apprentices that the author of this book has invited: Joshua Bloch and Doug Lea. Should I even continue? Brian Goetz is the lead author. I bought this book online just because of the names. When it arrived, I was just amazed. The amount of the information per square inch of paper is extremely high. Talk about advanced stuff! Java is a great programming language, if you know how to use it. People who want to squeeze the best possible performance out of a JVM should buy and study this book. All new features of the java.util.concurrent package introduced in Java 5 are presented with reasonably simple examples. If you spent some time swimming in the Java Ocean, this manuscript will take you to the next level.

In my opinion, these books stand out from the crowd. You also have a chance to state your preferences by including your favorite books in JDJ's annual readers choice awards at http://java.sys-con.com/general/2006rc.htm.

More Stories By Yakov Fain

Yakov Fain is a Java Champion and a co-founder of the IT consultancy Farata Systems and the product company SuranceBay. He wrote a thousand blogs (http://yakovfain.com) and several books about software development. Yakov authored and co-authored such books as "Angular 2 Development with TypeScript", "Java 24-Hour Trainer", and "Enterprise Web Development". His Twitter tag is @yfain

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Most Recent Comments
j j 09/21/06 04:30:45 PM EDT

Finding and buying Java books online is great...as long as you know what to look for. The thing is in many cases it's not obvious from the book title what the book about (I'll give you some examples below). So visiting a real bookstore can be a much better experience. I'm lucky to work right by a large bookstore, so I have the luxury of visiting this store a couple of times a week. This is how it goes. You slowly move your eyes along the bookshelf...Stop, let me open this one. No hurry. I believe in the chemistry between books and readers: either you like it or not. This very moment. Without even reading it. No rush. Do you know that books are not put on the shelves randomly?