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Core Java 2, Fundamentals
by Cay Horstmann, Gary Cornell

Prentice Hall PTR
7th edition
August 2004
784 pages

Reviewed by Thomas Paul, December 2004
  (7 of 10)

This is the seventh edition of this book and in some ways it hasn't changed much since the first edition. The first edition was aimed at C++ programmers who were looking to transition to the new language. The seventh edition is still fast-paced and detailed and aimed for the experienced programmer. The authors assume that you already know the basics of programming even if it isn't with an object oriented language. The book might make a fairly good college textbook but not as a first language.

The book covers the main areas that you would expect in an introductory Java book with a few surprises. The book gives a little bit of the history of Java and shows how to install and run Java from the console and Eclipse (but not NetBeans). There is an early introduction to reflection but exception handling isn't covered until well into the book. Swing is covered in a fair level of depth. J2SE 5.0 changes are covered throughout the book with the many examples written to show off the new additions to the language. Threading and Collections are not covered.

Overall this is a well written book who is the target audience? How many C++ programmers can be left that don't already know Java? For an introductory tutorial this book may be a bit too advanced. Through seven editions, Core Java has changed little other than to reflect language changes. Perhaps it's time to rethink the franchise.

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