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Java Coffee Break

Java Network Programming 2 Ed.

Author Merlin Hughes, Michael Shoffner, Derek Hamner
Publisher Manning
ISBN 1-884-77749-X
Experience level Intermediate - Advanced

Java Network Programming, Second Edition is the sequel to the highly popular Java Network Programming title, and picks up where the original left off. It offers considerably expanded coverage of the Java networking API, for the Java 2 platform. The authors build on chapters from the previous book, adding Java 2 specific methods and classes, and covering newer topics such as servlets, and CORBA (support for which was introduced in the Java 2 platform).

Readers unfamiliar with network programming, and the intricacies of sockets, are guided fairly gently through the process, with a thorough coverage of I/O streams (including files), UDP and TCP sockets, from both client and server perspective. This gives a good grounding for later development, with plenty of example clients and servers. There's also coverage of Java HTTP support, which is quite simple to work through.

That said, readers familiar with the original title may be in for some disappointment. The strong cryptography coverage of the first book has vanished, mentioned only in the preface as the subject of a future book. Not being very cryptographically minded myself, I really enjoyed reading about this topic in the first title. Nonetheless, with the number of pages in this thick reference, something probably had to go, to save room for other topics.

Newer topics covered in the second edition (or greatly enhanced from coverage in the first edition) include servlets, CORBA, and remote method invocation (RMI). There's even more examples than in the first edition, but there are a few gaps where coverage could have been improved (for example, the new RMI activation features are barely mentioned, and the reader is referred instead to the RMI documentation of Sun). Servlet coverage could really be improved as well - there's some great books out on the market though that can be used in companion with this book Perhaps these, and other topics will be covered in a future addition.

As networking books go, Java Network Programming 2Ed is close to the top, but has room for improvement. Currently, however, you won't find a book that can beat it, but for advanced topics you'll probably need a second title for topics like servlets or distributed computing.

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