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David Wallace Croft


Of the scores of Java books that I have read, these are the top ten that I recommend. As newer is better when it comes to Java books, they are listed here in order of reverse publication date.


Java in a Nutshell (5th Edition)

If you could only have one Java book, this would be it. Novice Java programmers will find this book useful for learning the Java programming language. Experienced Java programmers will appreciate the sections highlighting changes in the latest version of Java. Both will find this book a handy companion as a quick reference to the APIs and tools. I've owned every edition since the first and I continue to recommend it.

My only criticism is that over the years this "in a nutshell" book has expanded to fill the size of a coconut. Starting with the 4th Edition, I began to recommend that novice Java programmers just read Part I.


Sam's Teach Yourself Java 2 in 21 Days (3rd Edition)

While "Java in Nutshell" is a great introduction and quick reference to the Java programming language, I recommend this book for a more thorough introduction with hands-on examples. I credit the first edition of this book with getting me up and running quickly with bite-sized daily lessons.


Patterns in Java: A Catalog of Reusable Design Patterns Illustrated with UML, 2nd Edition, Volume 1

After object oriented programming, software developers must learn Design Patterns to reach the next level of enlightenment. Don't be confused by the criticisms targeted at Volume 2 in this series; Volume 1 is the best Design Patterns book for Java developers that I have read. It also comes with a great introduction to UML, a necessity for understanding the language of Design Patterns.


JDBC 3.0 Java Database Connectivity

I read this book as a JDBC refresher recently. I found it to be surprisingly well written. I recommend this book to anyone seeking a JDBC book that describes the latest enhancements to the API.


EJB Design Patterns: Advanced Patterns, Processes, and Idioms

After you learn the basics of EJB, you'll want to study EJB design patterns to see how people really do it. You can download this book for free from! If you prefer hard copy, you'll enjoy the design patterns wall poster that comes with the book.


Java Web Services

This book covers the current tool set and APIs for delivering Web Services using Java. Anyone designing a distributed system that must interoperate with the outside world should consider this book. As this technology is changing rapidly, I would not be surprised to see a 2nd edition published soon, hopefully with a more thorough coverage of asynchronous messaging with JAXM and ebXML.


Enterprise JavaBeans (3rd Edition)

This introduction to EJB covers the latest technologies such as EJB 2.0 CMP and includes links to online workbooks with specific instructions for your favorite application server. I used the workbook written for JBoss, a free Open Source application server with a built-in relational database. I was amazed when JBoss automatically created SQL tables and queries for me based upon my EJB CMP entity bean definitions. The book is also supported by a useful website which includes author and reader contributed errata.


Java and XSLT

XSLT is coming and JSP is on its way out! Don't believe me? Read this book! Chapter 4 explains in detail the tradeoffs between the servlet, JSP, and XSLT approaches to dynamic web page generation. Later chapters demonstrate the XSLT approach with working code. I found this book to be a great introduction to both XSLT and JAXP. Please also see my earlier review of this book.


Core Swing: Advanced Programming

This book documents some of the more obscure features of Swing. I found this book useful for learning tricks such as displaying interactive web pages within your desktop Java apps.


Java Network Programming: A Complete Guide to Networking, Streams, and Distributed Computing

Of the scores of Java books I've read, this one ranks at the top of my list. It tackles the tough subject of I/O streams in a way that is sure to convert any novice to an expert. This book communicates! Beware, though, as this 1999 book does not cover the new I/O APIs introduced with Java 1.4.

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