Java 1.2 In Record Time

Author Steven Holzner
Publisher Sybex
ISBN 0-7821-2171-3
Experience level Beginner

I've reviewed quite a number of Java titles written for the beginner. Some are fairly ordinary, others are exceptional. Unfortunately, Java 1.2 In Record Time falls into the former category. That is not to say it is not a good guide to learning Java quickly, but it does have its flaws.

Firstly, the book was written for an early beta of JDK1.2 (now named Java 2 v1.2). Any of the code written for the Swing platform will not run -- it uses the old* packages, rather than javax.swing). This means you must manually change all the import statements, and recompile. This is an annoyance, particularly for those who are unaware of the changes from early betas. If you visit the website, you can find out how to fix this by reading their errata.

Secondly, fourteen out of fifteen "skills" taught in the book concern graphics and GUI programming (that's 87.5% of chapters). While GUI programming is certainly a useful skill, the book stops just after briefly touching threads and JAR files -- there is no networking, no coverage of data structures, files, I/O streams, etc.

Putting these two flaws aside for the moment, Java 1.2 in Record Time is a good way to get your feet wet. You'll learn the Abstract Windowing Toolkit (AWT), and Swing libraries. As an introduction to the language, Java 1.2 in Record Time does a fine job, but readers will have to purchase other titles to cover all the skills a beginner needs.  -- David Reilly

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