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Contents of This Book

The first eight chapters of this book document the Java language, the Java platform, and the Java development tools that are supplied with Sun's Java Development Kit (JDK). The first five chapters are essential; the next three cover topics of interest to some, but not all, Java programmers.

Chapter 1: Introduction

This chapter is an overview of the Java language and the Java platform that explains the important features and benefits of Java. It concludes with an example Java program and walks the new Java programmer through it line by line.

Chapter 2: Java Syntax from the Ground Up

This chapter explains the details of the Java programming language, including some of the Java 5.0 language changes. It is a long and detailed chapter that does not assume substantial programming experience. Experienced Java programmers can use it as a language reference. Programmers with substantial experience with languages such as C and C++ should be able to pick up Java syntax quickly by reading this chapter; beginning programmers with only a modest amount of experience should be able to learn Java programming by studying this chapter carefully.

Chapter 3: Object-Oriented Programming in Java

This chapter describes how the basic Java syntax documented in Chapter 2 is used to write object-oriented programs in Java. The chapter assumes no prior experience with OO programming. It can be used as a tutorial by new programmers or as a reference by experienced Java programmers.

Chapter 4: Java 5.0 Language Features

This chapter documents the three biggest new features of Java 5.0: generic types, enumerated types, and annotations. If you read previous editions of this book, you might want to skip directly to this chapter.

Chapter 5: The Java Platform

This chapter is an overview of the essential Java APIs covered in this book. It contains numerous short examples that demonstrate how to perform common tasks with the classes and interfaces that comprise the Java platform. Programmers who are new to Java (and especially those who learn best by example) should find this a valuable chapter.

Chapter 6: Java Security

This chapter explains the Java security architecture that allows untrusted code to run in a secure environment from which it cannot do any malicious damage to the host system. It is important for all Java programmers to have at least a passing familiarity with Java security mechanisms.

Chapter 7: Programming and Documentation Conventions

This chapter documents important and widely adopted Java programming conventions, including JavaBeans naming conventions. It also explains how you can make your Java code self-documenting by including specially formatted documentation comments.

Chapter 8: Java Development Tools

Sun's JDK includes a number of useful Java development tools, most notably the Java interpreter and the Java compiler. This chapter documents those tools.

These first eight chapters teach you the Java language and get you up and running with the Java APIs. Part II of the book is a succinct but detailed API reference formatted for optimum ease of use. Please be sure to readSection II.1 in Part II; it explains how to get the most out of the quick reference section. Also, please note that the quick reference chapters are followed by one final chapter called "Class, Method, and Field Index." This special index allows you to look up the name of a type and find the package in which it is defined or to look up the name of a method or field and find the type in which it it is defined.

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