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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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Teach Yourself Java 2 Platform in 21 Days Professional Reference Edition
0 672 31438 X
Dave Rutlidge
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The 'Complete Compiler Edition' of the Java 1.2 book is a boxed set comprising the book itself and a CD containing a copy of Borland's JBuilder 2 standard edition. The book itself is available for twenty pounds less and the Java Development Kit (JDK) free of charge over the Internet ( The Complete Compiler Edition is, therefore, of questionable value, unless you particularly want the Borland offering. None of the examples used in the book use JBuilder; rather the use of the JDK is assumed.

The Java 2 Platform book includes a CD containing, amongst other things, the JDK version 1.2 and a copy of the Publisher Edition of JBuilder.

I was curious to compare the Java 1.2 and Java 2 platform books as the Java 2 platform incorporates version 1.2 of the JDK. It proved to be an easy comparison as the books are essentially identical, except in that the Java 2 Platform book includes a 'bonus week' that expands on some of the themes only touched upon in Java 1.2 book. The only omission from the Java 2 Platform book is the Java Language Summary - a surprising omission from the Professional Reference Edition of the book!

While I found the authors' style somewhat flippant and very American, the content is well presented and provides a comprehensive teach yourself guide to Java applet and application development (but not JavaScript). The code examples are included on the CD, although the text constantly refers one to the authors' web site instead. Sadly, there are no exercises or self-assessment questions to test the readers' understanding. While each chapter concludes with a question and answer section, these are of generally little value and do not enhance the learning experience.

In my opinion removing the excessive American humour, adding exercises and review questions and expanding the reference section would significantly improve the books. Nonetheless they provide a readable and comprehensive teach-yourself guide aimed squarely at the novice programmer.