Book Review of the Month

Java Rules
by Douglas Dunn

I liked this book a lot yet was uncertain how to evaluate it. A book should be judged according to the law of its genre and I had difficulty in defining what the genre is. Finally I found the word: "commentary". Commentary on Java "legal code" - a set of specifications - JLS, JVM, Inner Classes, Unicode standard, selected parts from Java API, even JavaSoft tutorial on the Collection framework, with detailed explanations.

Two first chapters, "Lexical Structure" and "Compilation Units" reflect on corresponding sections of the JLS. Inner classes, static, super, and this keyword (chapter 3) are covered to a depth I've not seen before. The chapters on data (4-5) include not only primitives and String/StringBuffer, but also BigInteger, BigDecimal, Date, Calendar, NumberFormat classes which makes the whole approach fundamental and encyclopedic. The last sixth chapter covers the Collections framework. Here the discussion becomes especially pedantic and it could have been quite a boring reading if the author did not reveal principles that underlie the framework's design. Those insights seem turn magically the framework's apparent anarchy into order, my boredom into epiphany, and author's pedantry into blessing.

Overall impression: the topics chosen are covered both deeply and fully. Explanations are always clear and complete, nothing is left for the reader to guess.

The fact that the book is about Java basics should not mislead you: beginners are not the target audience. You need a firm grasp of the language to appreciate the discussion. (Mapraputa Is - Bartender, January 2002)
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Chosen by Cindy Glass and Madhav Lakkapragada