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on 14 April 2003
At first, I thought "this book's not great. Why the fuss and good reviews?" Then I saw James Gosling's comments, "the one book I pull out over and over" on the cover and thought I'll give it another chance 'cause if James thinks that, I'm missing something. So, I began more slowly, reading the preface to get an idea how to use it. As Chan says, this does not, and is not intended to replace the Class library ref. books or on-line doc., but to act as a quick reference and aide memoir to what has become a huge language. Especially useful is the summary in the classes section of inherited methods, so you can see, at a glance what you need to look up further, if anything. But you do still need an up-to-date refernece (e.g. the one on-line) for Java 2, 'cause some (e.g. LinkedList) are missing despite publication in 2003. Hence, 4 not 5 stars. Could do with a "how to use this book" section, though.
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on 9 May 1998
Reference books follow an odd evolutionary path. The most successful reference books strive for heft - the bigger the better - often approaching prehistoric proportions. But sooner or later there comes a book that defies tradition and manages to be complete without breaking your desk, or your wallet. Patrick Chan's "Java Developer's Almanac" is that book.
The first thing you'll notice about this book is the convenient form factor. This is 5.5"x8" book is small enough to carry comfortably and lays flat next to a keyboard without taking up the entire desk, but it is not so small that the print becomes indecipherable. It is truly printed in the style of an almanac - the same paper, the same form factor. That would be enough to make me buy it even if it didn't contain some great stuff inside.
For the most part the book contains prototype declarations for every public and protected member of every Java class, all 18,837 of them. How do I know there are that many? Because one of the most interesting sections consists of statistics gathered from every Java release since 1.0. In addition the book contains detailed listings of what has changed - omissions and additions - between every Java release, including PersonalJava. Seeing the definitive list of changes from one version to another was fascinating (although it shows what a shambles the compatibility story is.) Nonetheless this book manages to capture the vary latest changes up to Java 1.2b3. It is just staggering to consider that there has been an order-of-magnitude growth in the number of methods since Java1.0!!! That's why I need this book.
The prototypes are organized alphabetically by class making it easy to find just what you are looking for. There are notations where necessary for methods that are only available under certain Java versions. For each class, the inheritance hierarchy is reproduced and what interfaces that class implements is noted. Even though the contents are organized for speed, I like brow! sing this book just to get a feel for breath of the Java class landscape. Thankfully I will never need most of the 1592 classes and interfaces in the Java 1.2 class hierarchy but it's nice to know they're there in case I do.
Unlike some authors that have let their Java books get mouldy while the language evolves, Patrick Chan has been writing and revising java reference books since he left the Java development team at Sun. He was one of the first people to write any substantive Java applets back when the whole Java group fit in one (small) room. Since then he has written or revised at least three (or more?) books on Java.
I think this book will prove to be a useful addition to any experienced Java hacker's bookshelf. For newbies, this book in conjunction with a Java tutorial will show you that learning Java, the language, is only the beginning of learning Java, the class library.
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on 15 June 1998
The Java Developer's Almanac is basically a gigantic listing of the majority of Java 1.2's classes and libraries. The book is lightweight and as dense as your average dictionary, which is great when all you're interested in is finding that certain special method. Unfortunately, it also resembles the first edition of O'Reilly's Java in a Nutshell, which means it could use some improvement. The returned-by and passed-to information (absolutely essential for finding relationships) is stuck way in the back of the book. And all the classes are alphabetized by name rather than package, which leaves a lot of completely unrelated classes next to each other. In short, get O'Reilly's Nutshell first.
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on 16 May 1998
This concise, affordable, reference book is a must-have for any Java programmers. This book covers virtually anything about the Java language and its APIs, up to the version 1.2beta3 (including JFC 1.1 aka Swing, Servlets, 3D, Media, you name it).
One caution: since this book is purely a reference containing no examples at all, novices may need some other resources (e.g. "Java Tutorial" by the same publisher) to learn the language and how to use it. However, this book would be a single great source for anybody who does serious coding in Java.
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on 25 March 2004
I just got my copy of this book today!
Before I searched the web for answers to Java questions and nine times out of ten I ended up on this books website with excellent examples which saved me a lot of time!
However Amazon where are the JDBC basics that are listed under Topics covered? I did buy this book over volume 1 thinking JDBC was covered I have yet to find it!
Other than that an excellent book for reference with examples.
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on 8 February 1999
The 1998 edition of this book was generated by a machine....as far as I can tell. It looks like a phone book, with the tiny print to match. Serious programmers will need the Java Class Libs vol 1 and vol 2 as well as other books for the javax packages and java3d, etc.
The book is very compact, and does a nice job of compiling many classes together in one binder. It is only occasionally useful to me.
Cute size!
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on 29 June 1998
With the greatly increased Java classes, this book (or one like it) is a must have. It doesn't describe the semantics of the classes and methods but a sophisticated OOP programmer, familiar with the application at hand, can often infer much of that. And for those of us who are over 30 and can't remember a bazillion signatures, this book is terrific.
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on 6 June 1998
This is Patrick Chan's answer to O'Reilly's Java in a Nutshell. The difference is that the "Almanac" is concise and is more fitting for an experienced Java developer. I recommend this book to any serious Java developer who knows the language.
The next great reference: "Java Example Almanac". Patrick, are you listening?
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on 18 January 1999
This is an almanac; and, true to its name, it packs a LOT of information into a SMALL package. Thorough and yet concise, it has the highest content-to-page ratio of any programming reference I have seen. The Java classes are big and the _Java Developers Almanac_ is the tool to use to quickly find the details needed to get programs running. It is a great help for rapid prototyping in new application areas, and to fine-tune and polish the finished product. The "traditional" class documentation found in other reference books can be tiring, frustrating and time consuming to use because it usually only describes what is new to a class, leaving it to the reader to flip around to chase up the inheritance tree to see everything. The "Almanac" tells everything for every class. While this may be a redundant use of paper and ink, it is a great time saver to the programmer trying to use a new class.
This is not a book to learn Java or object oriented programming. This is an excellent reference for the experienced object oriented programmer.
The _Java Developers Almanac_ is a "must have" reference for contractors and "road warrior" programmers who only have a briefcase for an office.
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on 15 July 1998
Back in 1995, when I first started programming with Java.. everyone kept on saying 'Nutshell, Nutshell, Nutshell'.. I refused to listen.
Well.. Mike Afergan provided a much better book (as a desktop reference) called 'Java Quick Reference' (ISBN 078970868X). Good work Mike! :) It left my mates for dead when I showed them a 'better' solution - as a desktop reference.
The 'Java Almanac' is a great companion to the 'Java Class Libraries, Second Edition' series (ISBN 0201310023 and ISBN 0201310031). I feel it is a must for anyone who is serious in developing with Java as it outlines clearly the differences between 1.0, 1.1 and 1.2 - compatibility between these is a huge mess!
If you wish to learn Java.. this is not the book for you.. it is for experienced Java people only. However, if you are get the three books listed, you have enough to get started and develop some serious applications.
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