REVIEW - Java - Programmer's Reference



Programmer's Reference


Herbert Schildt, Joe O'Neil



McGraw-Hill Osborne Media (1997)




Chris Hills


June 1998



I was rather hoping that this would be like the large DOS and UNIX Reference books I have, but unfortunately it is not, it is a 'Quick Reference'. That is it has very little detail. The majority of the book - some 370 pages of the 450 - consists of listings of the procedures in the standard classes. This is the prototype of the method and a one or two line explanation. There are very few examples of use. There are no details, other than their names, of the structures and parameters passed in or any return parameters and error codes. The first 80 pages are a simple run down of the language. The type is large and the pages A5 size. The amount of information is what I would expect in a 200 page book not a 400 page Programmers Reference.

This quick reference is more a simple aid memoir card than a proper reference book. Usually when I look up a method it is either to check the syntax or the usage. A real programmer's reference will give the syntax along with a lot more.

It would be better to buy a more expensive book that has more substance on each topic. You will need A full reference in addition to this book anyway and the syntax of the call should be available in the software package one is using. I think, after some deliberation, that this book falls between two stools and as such I cannot recommend it.

A Book Reviewers footnote to Publishers:

I have been reviewing books for some years now and it pains me that there appear to be fewer good books but a lot more mediocre (and down right appalling) books. What a waste of trees. The fact that modern methods have made book production cheaper and easier (and almost everyone has a word processor to write a book with) should not be a reason for producing more rubbish, but for producing better books at a lower cost.

Although I get my books for free I ask myself if I would buy them at the cover price. The odds have gone from 2 in 3 (10 years ago) to 1 in 6 now.

Perhaps publishers could offer computing books on CD? The costs, for production and distribution, would be lower and fewer trees would be wasted. This has happened with many international standards already.

So PLEASE can we have few books of higher quality (with a choice of media)?

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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