Feeds

Thinking in Java, new 4th Ed.

A new edition of an established classic, re-evaluated.

New hybrid storage solutions

Book review The trophy cabinet full of awards and prizes that Bruce Eckel has won for his ‘Thinking in Java’ attests to its classic status. And, despite it having been available as a free download, it’s also been a perennial best seller. Now, with the release of a new, fourth, edition, does the book still warrant the accolades? And does it remain one of the key titles to recommend to new Java programmers?

Thinking in Java

Whatever else you can say about the book, a quick read it is not. It now weighs in at a massive 1,400-odd pages. However, this isn’t bulk for the sake of it, Eckel provides fairly comprehensive coverage of the language, the core libraries, databases (JDBC), all manner of graphics (AWT/Swing is de rigeur for a Java book, SWT something of a rarity), interfaces to the native platform with JNI and more. And let’s not forget an introduction to object orientation, with a smattering of design patterns along the way.

This edition catches up with Java 5 and bills itself as ready for Java 6. This means more than a quick addition of a chapter on generics, (which does exist, of course), it also means that much of the rest of the book has been suitably generified. Coverage of enums, auto-boxing, for each loops, varags and the rest of the new stuff is also integrated into the text.

In addition to the scope, Eckel makes sure that there’s depth to his explanations. His primary tool for this is code. The book is littered with snippets of code, usually very short but complete programs that illustrate a point but often don’t actually do anything useful. Where others attempt to create code that is generally useful, Eckel prefers code that makes a specific point. There’s no big project running through this book, no shiny bit of software built up over the course of those 1,400 pages.

Eckel tends not to be especially verbose, the writing is direct and to the point, a bit like his succinct bits of code. This is matched by the design of the book: huge blocks of text with little variation in type-face, a lack of colour and a dearth of pictures (ok, there’s an occasional screen-shot, but even those are of the monochrome variety). It’s a pretty forbidding package, in all.

All of this is significant. ‘Thinking in Java’ is indeed a great book for learning Java and object oriented development, but it’s not a book for programming beginners. This is a book that’s best suited to existing programmers who want to make the switch to Java. If you’re a C or C++ programmer, for example, then making the switch to the Java - or C# come to that - mindset is more than a simple matter of learning a new syntax. Eckel’s book is about helping the reader make that change.®

Thinking in Java, 4th Ed

Verdict: If you don’t know your arrays from your enums then this really isn’t the place to start. On the other hand, if you’re an experienced programmer switching to Java…

Author: Bruce Eckel

Publisher: Prentice Hall

ISBN: 0131872486

Media: Book

List Price: £42.99

Reg price: £34.39

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Not appy with your Chromebook? Well now it can run Android apps
Google offers beta of tricky OS-inside-OS tech
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
NHS grows a NoSQL backbone and rips out its Oracle Spine
Open source? In the government? Ha ha! What, wait ...?
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Intel: Hey, enterprises, drop everything and DO HADOOP
Big Data analytics projected to run on more servers than any other app
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.