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Jolt Awards

The 13th Annual Software Development Jolt & Productivity Awards


BOOKS: TECHNICAL

Thinking in Java (3rd Edition)
Bruce Eckel (Prentice Hall, 2002)


Bruce Eckel, author

What is Java, exactly? For some, it’s just another programming language; for many others, it’s an application development and service delivery platform; for Bruce Eckel, it’s a philosophy. Java technology is one of the most complex and most successful software projects ever built. In Thinking in Java, Eckel (who also won a 1995 Jolt Award for his Thinking in C++) uses Java itself as the ultimate example to teach software architecture, object-oriented programming (OOP), best practices and design patterns. Now in its third edition, which covers JDK 1.4, Thinking in Java is a must-read for both novices and experts who want to delve deeper than the language and APIs.

Java is a premier language in the OOP world, so it’s fitting that the book’s first 10 chapters are dedicated to OOP concepts and implementation. The author explores difficult subjects such as interface-based reuse and polymorphism, then moves on to illustrate their usage in several core libraries: the Java collections library, the standard and new (1.4) Java I/O library, the concurrency library and the Swing GUI library. The book’s final two chapters focus on agile software development processes (can any author resist these days?) and Java-centric tools such as JUnit, ANT and Doclets.

This third edition of Thinking in Java continues to delight. And as the Java community adds new features and APIs to the core platform, we hope further editions will keep track with this evolution. 1998 Productivity Award winner (1st edition).

—Michael Yuan

Core Java 2, Vol. 1: Fundamentals (6th edition)
Cay Horstmann and Gary Cornell
(Prentice Hall PTR, 2002)

Starting from the language’s underlying tenets, developer tools and basic programming structures, Core Java 2 moves into two crucial areas: the OO programming concepts informing the entire Java class and interface structure, and the Java GUI programming model (Swing)and its design patterns. The authors use abundant code examples and sidebars to illustrate not only API usage, but also patterns and designs. Other important language features, such as the deployment model, error and exception handling, and standard I/O libraries, are also discussed. This edition also covers such J2SE 1.4 features as new I/O libraries, preferences, logging and regular expressions. For Java newbies, this book helps to establish correct programming habits and offers an unencumbered path to Java expertise.

—Michael Yuan

Understanding Web Services
Eric Newcomer
(Addison-Wesley, 2002)

“Today, software remains essentially a craft business, as automobiles were at the start of the twentieth century,” writes Eric Newcomer in the preface. “Having widely adopted standards has remained elusive despite many attempts: Web services may finally do the trick.” This book, from someone with firsthand knowledge of the W3C and industry efforts to establish universal XML-based protocols for distributed computing, is the single best introduction to the field that I’ve seen. Dispensing with lengthy explorations of XML minutiae, the author instead offers a clear explanation of the concept of Web services and the three XML applications (WSDL, SOAP and UDDI) that form its foundation. Furthermore, Newcomer’s book is firmly grounded in practicality and informed by his experience with CORBA and other standards.

—Chris Minnick

PHP and MySQL Web Development
Luke Welling and Laura Thomson
(Sams Publishing, 2002)

This volume is a great example of the kind of programming book most developers want and need: It offers practical, immediately usable, hands-on advice, with just enough theoretical, overarching material to prevent misapplication of the technology. Unlike many books that aim for this kind of result but lose their way in hundreds of pages of unimportant information, Welling and Thomson present two different technologies clearly, with a keen sense of their audience’s needs. In addition, they offer plenty of information about using the technologies together—material that clearly has been hard-won from their own experience. Developers will benefit from this practical, balanced exploration of the two technologies, and other authors can use this volume as a model for their own efforts.

—Andrew Binstock


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