Once you start reading the chapters, you'll find that almost all the best practices start with a header that briefly summarizes the author's advice. For example, in Chapter 4, one of the headers is:
- Do Not Rely on Built-in Key Generation
Following this summary in Chapter 4 is an introduction to the type of problem the author encountered that prompted this dilemma in the first place, and after that the author explains why he came to that conclusion. But more importantly, you'll find that each best practice documented in this book does more than state problems and solutions. They tend to shift your mode of thinking on using the APIs from the start. For instance, with the previous example, you might be tempted to use built-in key generation with your databases initially, then switch to a manual system later on. However, as this text demonstrates , this is often more trouble than it's worth and should be avoided at all costs. Of course, each practice originated with the author's personal experience, or experience learned from others since publication. In some cases, a recommendation might be obvious (e.g., "Always Close Your Database Connections"), but we've chosen to include it because it's so commonly executed incorrectly that it bears repeating.
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Many of the best practices include examples that illustrate either correct or incorrect usage of the API. In these cases, we have occasionally omitted package names at the beginning of the code listing, as well as other elements that are not required to demonstrate the point of the best practice. We assume that you are already familiar with the APIs to the point at which this is not an issue. If, however, you want to download the complete examples, you can do so at the web site for this book (http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/javaebp).