This edition of Learning Java is actually the fifth editionupdated and retitledof our original, popular Exploring Java. With each edition we've taken great care not only to add new material covering additional features, but to thoroughly revise and update the existing content to synthesize the coverage and add years of real-world perspective and experience to these pages.
One noticeable change in recent editions is that we've deemphasized the use of applets, reflecting their somewhat static role over the past couple of years in creating interactive web pages. In contrast, we've greatly expanded our coverage of server-side web applications and XML, which are now mature technologies.
We cover all of the important features of the latest release of Java, officially called Java 2 Standard Edition 5.0, JDK 1.5. Sun has changed the naming scheme many times over the years and this is the most confusing release ever! Sun coined the term "Java 2" to cover the major new features introduced in Java Version 1.2 and dropped the term JDK in favor of SDK. With this release Sun has skipped from Java Version 1.4 to the Java 5.0, but reprieved the term JDK and kept its numbering convention there. We've had no choice but to accept the term Java 5.0 into our vocabulary. You can't fight marketing.
This release of Java is targeted at developers and has the biggest set of language changes since Java's birth. We've tried to capture these new features and update every example in this book to reflect not only the current Java practice, but style.
New in This Edition
This edition of the book has been significantly reworked to be as complete and up to date as possible. New topics in this edition include:
This book is for computer professionals, students, technical people, and Finnish hackers. It's for everyone who has a need for hands-on experience with the Java language with an eye toward building real applications. This book could also be considered a crash course in object-oriented programming, networking, GUIs, and XML. As you learn about Java, you'll also learn a powerful and practical approach to software development beginning with a deep understanding of the fundamentals of Java and its APIs.
Superficially, Java looks like C or C++, so you'll have a tiny head start in using this book if you have some experience with one of these languages. If you do not, don't worry. Don't make too much of the syntactic similarities between Java and C or C++. In many respects, Java acts like more dynamic languages such as Smalltalk and Lisp. Knowledge of another object-oriented programming language should certainly help, although you may have to change some ideas and unlearn a few habits. Java is considerably simpler than languages such as C++ and Smalltalk. If you learn well from good, concise examples and personal experimentation, we think you'll like this book.
The last part of this book branches out to discuss Java in the context of web applications, web services, and XML processing, so you should be familiar with the basic ideas behind web browsers, servers, and documents.