Java 7 Recipes

Author: Josh Juneau, Carl Dea, Freddy Guime & John O'Conner
Publisher: Apress, 2011
Pages: 872
ISBN: 978-1430240563
Aimed at: Beginning to intermediate Java programmers
Rating: 4
Pros: Covers a lot of ground
Cons: Variable quality
Reviewed by: Mike James

A Java 7 recipe book - what could be more yummy?

But this isn't really a recipe book at all. It is an introduction to all things Java 7 chopped up into short chunks, each one motivated by a usually contrived question or task. Take for example the first "recipe" which is headed Downloading and Installing Java 7. This starts with a statement of the problem:

You want to install the Java 7 Development Kit (JDK) on you computer workstation or laptop.

It then goes on to explain how to do the job. There are some advantages to this sort of structure. For example, it means you can find relevant parts of the book more easily and sections are relatively self contained.

The second most important thing to know about this book is that it is big and covers a lot of ground. It is also written by a team of authors and this means that its quality is a little variable.

 

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The first four chapters form an introduction to Java, including basic data structures. Chapters 5 through 10 are on more advanced topics but are still on core Java - I/O, exceptions, OOP, concurrency, debugging and Unicode.

From here the book moves into various Java sub-systems. Chatper 11 is about working with databases. Chapters 12 and 13 deal with 2D and 3D graphics respectively. For many, Chapter 14 will seem a little late to introduce Swing, especially as straight afterwards we have three chapters on JavaFX. Unfortunately there are aspects of the JavaFX chapters which are already out of date - but not by much.

After covering the cutting edge, i.e. JavaFX, the book returns to more business-like matters - Servlets - but then goes off into more remote topics such as Android and JavaFX on the web, only to return to core XML and networking to close the book. Perhaps the end of the book should be more focused on each topic.

It is noticeable that Java Beans and frameworks aren't discussed, but this is reasonable as they are topics for books in their own right. However, the same could be said of Android which is covered.

The quality of the explanations vary, but they are always at least acceptable. There are large chunks of code listings which are mostly a waste of space, but as this is a big book its not a problem.

In the main, the level of the book is beginner to intermediate and it really doesn't tell you how to do anything that is "difficult". However, if you fit into this category, and like the sort of short-burst approach of a recipe book, then you might well get quite a lot from this one.

Not an exceptional book, but far from a waste of paper.

 

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Computer Science Illuminated

Author: Nell Dale & John Lewis
Publisher: Jones & Bartlett
Pages: 672
ISBN: 978-1449672843
Audience: Undergraduate students
Rating: 4
Reviewer: Mike James

A gentle introduction to computer science - just what a lot of people are looking for.



The Clean Coder

Author: Robert C. Martin
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Pages: 256
ISBN: 978-0137081073
Aimed at: Aspiring professional programmers
Rating: 4.5
Pros: Amusing anecdotes and sound advice
Cons: No code!
Reviewed by: Harry Fairhead

 

Billed as "a code of conduct for professional programmers" what does "Uncle Bob"  [ ... ]


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