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Wicked Cool Java: Code Bits, Open-Source Libraries, and Project Ideas Paperback – 28 Nov 2005

2.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Description

About the Author

Brian D. Eubanks is a consultant, speaker, author, and trainer specializing in Internet technologies and the founder of Eu Technologies, Inc. He has more than 20 years experience as a computer programmer, network engineer, and systems consultant. His current work focuses on Java, XML and Flash.

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Format: Paperback
This book might be interesting only as a very superficial overview of some cool Java-related technologies for a person who'd never heard of them. If you already know what technology do you need and look for details on its usage - this book is pretty useless, as it was for me. I wish I didn't waste money on it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars 16 reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting survey of native techniques and open source packages 13 Jan. 2006
By calvinnme - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a lot of fun as it focuses on many interesting ideas for Java programmers. Do not expect complete solutions to complex problems. Instead it highlights many open source Java packages and APIs and gives very simple examples of how they can be used. It is up to the reader to go to the web, download the various packages, and play with them. For example, in the area of music, the author discusses JMusic, which provides a solid framework for computer-assisted composition in Java, and is also used for generative music, instrument building, interactive performance, and music analysis. The book just shows a simple program that generates a filtered sawtooth wave, and a few other simple examples. The readers are expected to explore the API themselves for meatier applications. Other open source packages that are highlighted and explored on a simple level are JFugue, another API for music programming, Javolution for embedded programming applications, and Piccolo, an API from the University of Maryland that supports the development of 2D structured graphics programs in general and Zoomable User Interfaces (ZUIs), in particular.
The book also explores the more interesting parts of the Java language itself such as using the AWT Robot class for automating key/mouse events, using the new enum types in Java 5, and several off-beat applications of the various Java classes that handle XML data.
None of the ideas shown here lead to full blown applications that will make you rich. Instead, the idea is to get you thinking in creative ways about what can be accomplished with the Java language and also to introduce you to some interesting open source API's that are out there on the web that are both labor-saving and creative. I would recommend this book to any experienced Java programmer. I notice that Amazon does not show the table of contents so I do that here:
Chapter 1: Java Language and Core API
Chapter 2: String Utilities
Chapter 3: Processing XML and HTML
Chapter 4: Crawling the Semantic Web
Chapter 5: Math and Science
Chapter 6: Graphics and Data Visualization
Chapter 7: Multimedia and Sychronization
Chapter 8: Fun, Integration and Project Ideas
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Kinda Cool Java 9 Mar. 2006
By Jason - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
"Wicked Cool Java", by Brian D. Eubanks, bills itself as "an idea sourcebook" for Java developers who are "looking for interesting and useful APIs or for project ideas." This book serves as an introduction to a hodge-podge of APIs covering a breadth of topics. Eubanks devotes sections of the book to such overarching topics as processing XML and HTML, the semantic web, scientific and mathematical applications, graphics and data visualization, and multimedia among others. I would expect that most Java developers would find some topic within "Wicked Cool Java" that excites them.

"Wicked Cool Java" seems to fit squarely in the realm of the cookbook style of programming books. Each topic of discussion is punctuated with short code examples, and while many of the topics stand on their own, some do build on previous topics. The presentation and explanation are clear and the code is sufficiently illustrative.

I do have a couple of problems with the book. The first two chapters are "Java Language and the Core API" and "String Utilities." Given the stated objectives of the book, I have a hard time seeing where the first two chapters fit in. These chapters simply explain various aspects of the core Java language. Some of the information covers new Java 5 additions to the language, but much of it covers features that have been part of the language since 1.4 and even 1.1. In my opinion, there is nothing "wicked cool" about anonymous classes, for example. This is just one example of a basic feature of the language that I would think most people picking up the book should already be familiar with. The new Java 5 features discussed, Java 1.4 regular expressions, and the difference between "==" and "equals()" are but a few of the topics here that seem out of place. My other gripe is that URLs aren't given for most of the APIs under discussion. Instead the author expects us to visit the book's website for this information. While this isn't a big problem, it certainly is annoying.

Complaints aside, I did enjoy reading about many of the APIs that I was unfamiliar with. The text does inspire me to want to try out some of the material presented therein, which is after all what Eubanks was trying to accomplish. So while I might not call it "Wicked Cool", "Kinda Cool" might be a bit more appropriate.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting grab bag of topics 9 Dec. 2005
By Jack D. Herrington - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Most technical books cover a specific topic; JSP, JDBC, the Java language, or something like that. This book is different. It's a grab bag of wide ranging topics. These range from regular expressions, to RSS parsing, to audio processing. What I like about that is the inspiration it brings. That kind of "I can do that with Java, cool!" type experience. That being said, it's tough to recommend it as a book everyone should read. You should have a look at the table of contents to see if there is enough in it to justify the purchase.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Java Cookbook Albeit A Bit Short 22 Dec. 2005
By Dan McKinnon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
'Wicked Cool Java' by Brian D. Eubanks is a pleasant read, full of great Java tips and tricks laid out in a "cookbook" style reminiscent of the bigger O'Reilly books with the same 'Cookbook' name. The author breaks this book into 8 different chapters:

1. Basic Java language and the core API

2. Working with strings

3. Processing XML & HTML

4. Semantic web and RSS

5. Scientific and mathematical applications

6. Graphics and data visualization

7. Multimedia code

8. Random project ideas

Pros:

I really like the writing style and examples in this book. With over 100 different tips and tricks within, this is a great resource for becoming a better Java programmer. Better yet, it's laid out in such a way that you don't just read the book, you enjoy it. No Starch has one of the best template styles of all the different publishing houses out there, and it's less work and more play reading one of their books.

Cons:

This was never meant to be a resource, more a book full of tips and tricks and it screams it. Coming in at just over 200 pages, I felt that more content could have been included. That's not to say that the stuff contained within isn't worth reading (it is), but at 250-300 pages I feel that this book would be more worth the retail price (at its current length I would have been happier with a price around $5 less).

This book is great for amateur and experienced Java programmers, not a resource for people who are looking to LEARN Java. This is the main distinction between this and many other Java books out on the market. If you want to pick up another book to add to your collection and a fun book at that, I would recommend you take a look at 'Wicked Cool Java'.

**** RECOMMENDED
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's a cookbook, it's a cookbook! (No, it isn't... Yes it is...) 16 Mar. 2006
By Rich Rosen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Has O'Reilly muddied their waters with TOO MANY different book series for developers? I'm trying to learn XYZ, which book do I buy? XYZ Cookbook? XYZ in a Nutshell? XYZ Hacks? Head First XYZ? The XYZ Developer's Notebook? Or now this, Wicked Cool XYZ?

Each series seems to have their place in the O'Reilly spectrum. There are books for learning a technology (Head First), books that are references for the technology (Nutshell), books that list problems and their solutions using that technology (Hacks, Cookbooks), and books that are for just exploring (Developer's Notebooks).

The Wicked Cool series (actually associated with O'Reilly-owned No Starch Press) seems to be for people who know the core technology, and are looking to explore more of it (but not the standard stuff you would find elsewhere) without necessarily trying to solve specific application problems. The Cookbooks may cover standard problems and solutions, and the Hacks books may offer short and sweet tricks for enhanced productivity, but the Wicked Cool series seems to be about things you didn't even know existed that would be FUN to explore. Today's fun project could be tomorrow's real-world assignment.

I already had the Tiger Developer's Notebook, and this book begins with many aspects of Tiger covered there, but it goes on to cover RDF, SVG, MIDI, declarative interface design, and more. Some of these are topics you won't see covered in any of the other series, for sure. If you have an interest in any of the topics covered here, this book is a good introduction. What's lacking is depth of coverage in many cases--for example, just two pages in total on Lucene?

All in all, a great exploration of areas in Java I might not have otherwise had the chance to explore--for fun today, for who knows what tomorrow.
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