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Core Java(TM) 2, Volume II--Advanced Features
by Cay S. Horstmann, Gary Cornell, Cay Horstmann, Gary Cornell


Prentice Hall PTR
8 edition
April 2008
1056 pages

Reviewed by Michael Ernest, May 2008
  (10 of 10)


In my review of Professional Java JDK 6 Edition, I said I didn't think one book could cover so many topics and serve the reader well. This volume is an exception that proves the point.

It is a monster book, easily several months of steady work to get through, and an useful reference afterwards as well. It is well put together, clearly written, methodically presented. I wouldn't put it down if that were possible. The coverage is broad and the examples are interesting. The topics also feel complete, not because they are thorough, but because they leave off right where intermediate-level programmers could work out most details on their own.

I read the first and second editions years ago. I must say this title is a case study in steady, disciplined, tireless improvement and refinement of the original. It's 990 pages, but I haven't come across a useless sentence yet. The authors haven't just added on. They've refined their examples, improved and replaced others. Most importantly, they've realized a format that puts boilerplate and API tables to the side, allowing the reader to focus on the concept at hand. Complete code listings are presented in a way that's easy to pass over in favor of the files available by download.

If you need lots of code work on different topics to urn Java into your fingertips -- and there is no better way to do it -- this book is an excellent choice

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Prentice Hall PTR
7th edition
December 2004
1024 pages

Reviewed by David O'Meara, April 2005
  (8 of 10)


I've always been impressed with the quality of the 'Core' series and happily this book is no exception.

My first impression of "Core Java 2, Volume 2 - Advanced Features" (7th Edition) was that the book contained too much information and was too small for the task it had set itself. However it didn't long for me to revise this perception.

Java 5 includes a huge number of new features. This book does its best to expose you to the new features and doesn't give a definitive example for each part, but provides at least enough so you know what they're for and can spot them in the wild. The examples strike the right balance between length and detail so that you're onto the next topic before getting bogged down in the current one. There is a good mixture of code snippets and full source included, though sometimes I felt the excess could have been trimmed for a few of them.

Personally I loved the coverage of Threading, Collections, Security and XML, but there was enough in each chapter to make it worth reading.

This is an excellent resource for any programmer looking for a quality Java 5 text, although you'll want to consider pairing it with volume one if you lack programming experience. Whether you have experience with the features in the new version or not, the depth of information makes it an important book to add to your bookshelf.

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Core Java, Volume II--Advanced Features (9th Edition) (Core Series)
by Cay S. Horstmann, Gary Cornell


Prentice Hall
9 edition
March 2013
1152 pages

Reviewed by Mohamed Sanaulla, May 2013
  (9 of 10)



I always liked the approach Cay S. Horstmann takes in the examples in his Core Java books. He tries to follow good practices in all his examples which includes better naming convention, documentation and comments, identifying right classes. This book, Core Java Volume-2, is no different. You find examples which are in themselves mini applications. You dont find toy programs which illustrate the feature and do some printing on the console. The examples themselves include different concepts across Java.

There are very interesting topics covered in this book like: Steams and Files, XML processing, JDBC, Network Programming, Scripting and Annotations, Security, JNI, Advanced Swing and AWT. I see that few chapters which were originally in Volume-2 have been moved to volume-1 namely multithreading and collections. I see a very exhaustive coverage on Swing and AWT, what I feel missing is the coverage of JavaFX features for which I think a chapter would suffice. Not to forget this book covers the Java 7 features as well.

Otherwise this book covers lot of stuff and I would recommend to use it as a reference to pick chapters as and when you want to explore those features. Reading end-to-end may not be necessary because most likely we would not be using all of those features in one place together. Reading end-to-end might be an overkill as well owing to the number of pages.

Bottom line: Highly recommend book in your bookshelf of Java references.

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

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Prentice Hall
9 edition
March 2013
1152 pages

Reviewed by Campbell Ritchie, September 2013
  (9 of 10)



I would always advise readers to try before they buy; look at the contents and sample pages on Amazon or similar. There you will find you get 1117 pages, 115 more than in my 2005 edition. That's even more of a change when you remember the threading chapter moved to Vol I. That extra space is full of information, in the inimitable Horstmann & Cornell (H&C) style. They teach object‑oriented programming throughout, with good coding style and emphasise correctness. The book has been updated and uses Java7 constructs throughout, even though the odd use of StringTokenizer escaped updating. And GridBagConstraints appears once instead of GBC (see volume I).
This book makes no pretence to comprehensiveness. There is relatively little about servlets, for example, and no design patterns; as I said about Vol I, they assume readers know patterns already.
The points for C++ programmers still appear; they are interesting but only of relevance to people coming from C++. Those points are probably important because there are many points where the apparent similarities between the two languages obscure differences.
I found the chapters about security and native methods particularly interesting.
The index is comprehensive. There are suggestions for further reading, e.g. about advanced graphics. When H&C are unhappy about something in the Java? platform, they say so without hesitation (policytool is criticised on page 833).
The only weakness I perceive is the lack of a proper bibliography, which I believe would enhance this book greatly. There is one place where it looks as if a reference had been forgotten.
Still, H&C has been a favourite of mine for a long time, and remains a favourite.

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

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Core Java vol I-Fundamentals
by Cay S Horstmann, Gary Cornell


Prentice-Hall
9 edition
2013
974 pages

Reviewed by Campbell Ritchie, March 2013
  (8 of 10)



I was pleased to have a copy of this book to review. It is by no means a beginners' book, moving at a fast pace, and often referring to later chapters or VolII, and using a rather "compressed" form of code in its examples. Users of previous editions will recognise the writing style, updated seamlessly so one cannot see the join between "old" and "new". Unlike in some books, there is no "project" running through it, nor end-of-chapter exercises. Again reflection appears unusually early position in this book. It has ~220 more pages than my 2005 edition, but part of that increase comes from moving the threading chapter into VolI.
It is an object-oriented book, but assumes readers already know what objects are. It describes aliases, returning mutable references and pass-by-value. Also warnings about potential security hazards and pitfalls.
Much of the book consists of a detailed description of different features of the platform. It has probably the clearest description of Java generics I have seen. The threading chapter is also up to date, with Locks before synchronized.
This book takes it for granted than the reader already know the working of data structures, Singletons, Immutable classes or invariants, so they are not described. Many differences from C++ are mentioned; although many C++ programmers already know Java, those are potential points of confusion. These differences are less relevant to people who come straight to Java.
I disagree with a few things: throwing an unchecked Exception to enable an overridden method to compile, Scanner#nextLine reads the next line.
One thing I was disappointed by: the book has only few references.
A good resource to get you up to speed in Java. When VolII comes out it will probably also be a very comprehensive resource.

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

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Scala for the Impatient
by Cay S. Horstmann


Addison-Wesley Professional
1 edition
March 2012
384 pages

Reviewed by Mohamed Sanaulla, July 2012
  (8 of 10)



- The book covers almost all of the concepts in Scala in a very concise format.
- More emphasis on learning by doing.
- Lot of exercise problems at the end of each chapter. It is highly recommended to try them out.
- The concepts have been divided into varying difficultly levels and the chapters have been arranged so as to facilitate good understanding.
- The initial few chapters help Java programs to get onto programming in Scala by not scaring with Functional style of programming.

Some of the not so good things:
- You dont get to see lot of idomatic scala code. Unlike Core Java where the examples gave the reader an idea of how to organise code. It is acceptable considering the size of the book.
- The questions dont have solutions so its difficult to evaluate if your code follows best practices.

This would not be the last book you would read, I am sure once you finish this book you would be in a better position to read other Scala books and try to grasp the advanced scala concepts and also learn to write idomatic scala code.

The ideal approach to read this book is to practice the exercises and also keep the Scala API documentation handy.

Being a newbie with lot of failed efforts to learn Scala, I found this book to be easy to pick scala concepts and also familiarize with the code.

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

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Core JavaServer Faces
by David Geary, Cay Horstmann, David Geary, Cay S. Horstmann


Prentice Hall PTR
1 edition
June 2004
552 pages

Reviewed by Jeanne Boyarsky, July 2004
  (8 of 10)


"Core JavaServer Faces" introduces JSF to programmers only requiring HTML and Java knowledge. The first chapter explains how to setup the examples using Tomcat and Ant. The authors show everything needed to run all the examples, including the directory structure.

Most of the book is also appropriate for experienced web developers. The second half has involved topics. The authors include a few comparisons to Struts and comment on how to combine the two frameworks. The authors keep most of the technical/advanced concepts at the end of the chapters and mark them clearly.

The first half of the book explains JSF. It includes everything you should know to use a framework, such as lifecycle and tags. The second half of the book shows how to use JSF with longer examples. This includes Tiles, custom components, JDBC and LDAP. There is even a chapter of wireless devices and combining JSF with MIDP. The last chapter is 25 "How do I..." questions, like those here at JavaRanch.

The book highlights best practices where possible. It uses some, such as style sheets and message bundles, through the examples. It even mentions cross-site scripting attacks and how JSF can assist in preventing them. I had a copy of the first edition first printing. There were some minor typos and a missing reference, but the authors promise this will be corrected in the next printing. The reference is also on the book's website. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book.

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Prentice Hall PTR
third edition
June 2010
672 pages

Reviewed by David O'Meara, October 2010
  (10 of 10)


While I am still undecided about some of the virtues of JavaServer Faces, this is easily the best resource that I am aware of for those wanting to pick up the technology.

Part of the problem (in my opinion) with JSF are the changes between versions and the complexity when coexisting with other complimenting technologies like JSP, annotations and even HTML and containers. This is the main strength of this book since it provides a roadmap for navigating the intricacies and gotchas without making the core text illegible. Yes, the text is scattered with side comments but it still allows the knowledge to flow without being too distracting.

I also found the examples perfect in complexity and size. They highlight the points from the text without dominating the book and forcing the user to skip pages at a time. The code could have been reduced if the authors used more code snippets rather than complete listings, but the full code was often useful since the book is aimed at beginner to intermediate users that will benefit from having the big picture provided.

It is a Beginner to Intermediate JSF book, and users of that level will benefit from this book as both a learning and reference resource and in my opinion it is worth a place on the JSF-user book shelf.
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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

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Core Java, Volume I--Fundamentals
by Cay S. Horstmann, Gary Cornell


Prentice Hall PTR
8th edition
September 2007
864 pages

Reviewed by Jeanne Boyarsky, October 2007
  (9 of 10)


"Core Java, Volume I -- Fundamentals" is meant to teach Java to developers who already know another language. Or as they put it, "serious programmers ... with a solid background in a language other than Java." This is important as the book assumes a knowledge of programming concepts. As such, the authors can explain OO rather than how a loop works. The syntax diagrams and flow diagrams offer concise explanations.



This edition (the eighth of the book) covers Java 6. I liked that each section was updated to reflect changes to the languages. The authors didn't just tack on some chapters about the new features. They integrated features as they made sense. More importantly, they updated existing examples to reflect the way they would be written if they were initially written today. This gives the reader appropriate exposure as to when to use new features. At the same time, the authors point out what was added in Java 1.4 so you can use it with an older version. There was even a screenshot of Windows Vista in the getting started section.

The book is about 800 pages. Some of this is long classes and API extractions. The authors do highlight important code snippets with explanations first, so it is possible to skip these parts. I did like the feature of the API extractions that showed when methods were introduced.

The authors explain Java in practice well including caveats. There are a few carefully labeled sections that are quite advanced. (proxys and new classloaders.) This is definitely not just an intro book! There was a bit of premature optimization. I don't see a need to worry about whether ArrayList is efficient unless it is a problem. At the same time, it is important to know why things work the way they do.

I recommend this book if you are looking to learn Java or have only used certain pieces of it. Just be sure to read the TOC carefully as the authors branch out. For example, the inheritance chapter covers var args and reflection.

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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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Core Java
by Horstmann, Cay S. / Cornell, Gary.


Prentice Hall PTR
5th edition
December 2000
832 pages

Reviewed by Johannes de Jong, July 2001
  (8 of 10)


If you want to learn Java and OO from scratch this book is definitely NOT meant for you. If however you want to get a deeper understanding of the Java fundamentals (yes this book has been aptly named) and how you implement OO in Java this book is a must. I kept on catching myself saying "hey that's neat" when I finally grasped an important fundamental (yes that word again) that has alluded me up to now. (I've been playing with Java for 5 months). What I especially liked about the book is that the authors explained why a specific solution was chosen. They did not just leave me in the dark. At times they even suggested alternatives.

My complaints:
They waste unnecessary pages with code that hardly gets discussed. A simple reference to the CD would have been enough, heck they even supply a great editor (TextPad) to read and compile it with. I still had to correct quite a few examples manually after I'd downloaded the latest version of their code. Surely they could have updated it ? The Core Java Web page can be found at Core Java. The rest of Mr. Hortsmann's site is also worth a visit.

"A solid foundation to improve your basic Java skills".

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Prentice Hall PTR
5th edition
December 2000
832 pages

Reviewed by Mary Jane Swirski, August 2002
  (8 of 10)


Beginner? Then this book is for you! I am a COBOL programmer & found this book very easy to read. Concepts are easily explained then example code is provided, great for anyone new to Java or OO concepts. I would recommend this to any green-horn who is trying to learn the java language without the benefit of an professional instructor. The only downfall of the book: it provides no exercises, and I fervently believe that to become a good programmer one must practice their coding.

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Prentice Hall PTR
5th edition
December 2000
832 pages

Reviewed by Paul Wheaton, January 2000
  (2 of 10)


When I had about eight months of Java experience, I read the Core series. After reading Just Java 1.1, the core series were awful by comparison. They had a lot of errors coming from taking a book on 1.0 and sticking in a few 1.1 paragraphs and calling it a 1.1 book. I don't know if the 1.2 series is better - I haven't bothered to look since Just Java 1.2 works so well for me.

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