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The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1949 reviews in the database and more every month.
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Core SWING Advanced Programming
Kim Topley
0 13 083292 8
Prentice Hall
Nigel Armstrong
Appeared in:
This book covers advanced topics in programming the Java Foundation Classes (JFC), also known as Swing, which are used for creating Java user interfaces. It follows on from the same author'sCore Java Foundation Classesbook, which covers more basic issues, with the intention of answering all those 'how do I?' and 'why doesn't it?' questions that arise when one has been developing using JFC for a while.

As soon as I started reading this book I wished that it had been available when I first started with Swing. So many questions that I and others of my team had spent days or weeks struggling with, often ending up with a compromise solution, are answered here, plainly and in detail. The explanation of how to create a custom editor component for a table cell, which deals with many of the subtle pitfalls we happened on, is worth the price of the book alone in terms of the time it might save.

What I especially like is that the author is not content simply to provide a cookbook approach, he provides details of how his solutions work as well as indications of why some alternatives that one might think of would not.

There is a CD with the book, which meets the key requirement of having all the code from the book (148 source files plus all the compiled classes), along with some IDE tools to try (which I haven't had time to assess). Interestingly, it also includes a chapter in PDF form from the Core JFC volume; on tree controls, an advanced topic not covered here - a magnanimous gesture on the part of the publisher, as it reduces the need to buy both books.

One caveat is that this book does not cover internationalisation or accessibility (I do not believe the earlier volume does either). While these may not be important issues for the majority of programmers, anyone who develops UIs that may be widely used must surely take them into account. Sadly there is a lack of good coverage of these topics in books for Java programmers.

With the above grumble taken into account, still highly recommended.