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Beginning J2ME: From Novice to Professional
by Jonathan Knudsen, Sing Li

third edition
April 2005
480 pages

Reviewed by Ernest Friedman-Hill, March 2006
  (7 of 10)

J2ME is a jungle of configurations, profiles, and APIs. A beginner's book might soar over the jungle like an exotic bird, pretty but insubstantial. Such a book would see everything from a 20,000 foot view. You'd see the lay of the land, but wouldn't get your feet wet.

Another approach would be for the authors to grab their machetes and start hacking their way in, following a particular path. You'd get all dirty and sweaty and get a lot of experience, but not necessarily understand exactly how you got there.

This book decidedly takes this latter path. After a brief introductory chapter, it concentrates on the core APIs and the most commonly implemented configuration and device profile. Although there's plenty of practical information on tools and lots of code examples, as a reader unfamiliar with J2ME, and someone who doesn't own a Java-enabled phone, I felt disoriented. As an introduction to J2ME programming, I felt the book was lacking in background and motivations.

Striking a balance between the two approaches I described might be a fool's errand. Therefore you would probably need one book from each category to really get involved in J2ME development.

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third edition
April 2005
480 pages

Reviewed by David O'Meara, August 2005
  (6 of 10)

I have to admit that I didn't really enjoy this book, however it is still a good book and worth considering if you are looking for an introduction to J2ME. I found that I didn't really connect with the writing style and therefore the process of reviewing this text was a bit more laborious than I had hoped.

"Beginning J2ME Third Edition" provides an update on the latest J2ME technologies and gives it good coverage, with a comparison to the older technologies (so no problems if you're stuck a few versions behind). I also felt that the samples sometimes wandered between being too small and not exercising the given point through to being too large and burying the example in pages of code.

In the end maybe I was just disappointed in what I felt was cursory coverage from two good authors.

It's not all bad news though. The samples are still very useful and the coverage of some areas that I had found confusing in other books was much clearer here.

Maybe my impression of this book was affected by my lack of connection to the text. There may be better books out there, but I've found they too have limitations and may not be as up to date as this one; you'll have to weigh this with your requirements. I guess I'm still waiting for something else.

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