Delving Into Java Language and Knowledge Management
Ignoring for the moment the high-tech carnage on Wall Street, I'm catching up on Internet progress. The task I set for myself stares back at me from horizontal spines: the titles of 10 books and two software programs, all but one covering Java.
Sparked by the desire to delve deeper into Sun's much ballyhooed programming language and by a continuing interest in knowledge management, I need to choose among this smorgasbord. Parsing is easier than expected; the books fall neatly into three user categories: beginner, intermediate and advanced.
Before I share my opinions, here are a few notes of caution and disappointment. First, the books reviewed are only a sample -- I lack knowledge of the size of the population and whether the sample is representative. Second, and regrettably typical of the 500-plus Internet books (judged by titles in a Library of Congress search), none are suitable for training, nor do they seem to have been written by professional trainers. In this vein, I have yet to find a good beginner's text to teach non-programmers the Java language. If any reader can prove me wrong, I would like that. This is the first of a two-part article.
1. Bartlett, Neil, Leslie, Alex and Simkin, Steve. "Java Programming Explorer." ISBN 1-883577-81-0
2. Friedel, David H. Jr. and Potts, Anthony. "Java Programming Language Handbook." ISBN 1-883577-77-2
3. Perry, Paul J. "Creating Cool Web Applets With Java." ISBN 1-56884-881-1
4. Niemeyer, Patrick and Peck, Joshua. "Exploring Java." ISBN 1-56592-184-4
5. Rodley, John. "Writing Java Applets." ISBN 1-883577-78-0
This category is a mixed bag, from the thick (Bartlett) to the relatively thin (Niemeyer), from the focus on process (Friedel) to the stress on results (Perry and Rodley). For a heavy dose of Java, I would go with Bartlett, et al. For those seeking lighter repast, the choice is Friedel. If you want to dive into writing applets -- programs that require a Java-capable browser, such as Netscape Navigator 2.0 or Internet Explorer 3.0b1 -- the works by Perry and Rodley are valuable.
In a class by itself is the Niemeyer book, spanning the bridge between Intermediate and Advanced. If pressed, I would choose the Bartlett tome for the beginner, both for its varied writing style and for the CD-ROM attached to the back cover. Be mindful, though, that not one of these could be used by the non-programmer interested in self-study.
In the next issue, I will cover the Advanced category, Symantec's Caf? and askSam 3.0.
John Makulowich writes, talks and trains on the Internet. You can reach him at email@example.com. The URL for his home page, replete with frames, is http://www.cais.com/makulow/