REVIEW - Java Secrets


Java Secrets


Elliotte Rusty Harold



Wiley (1997)




Mark Kuschnir


February 1999



This book fails to live up to its promises. The front cover proclaims Do what you never thought possible in Java! Chapter one states this book is different. It starts where the other [Java] books stop.

The book is honest in that it warns readers that it contains material that if used will make their Java non-portable. The book is supposedly about Java 'secrets'. I had hoped for an in-depth look at obscure Java with insights into stuff that I didn't know. I was sorely disappointed. The book is basically divided into three sections: (I) How Java Works, (II) The Sun Classes and (III) Platform Dependent Java.

  1. How Java Works is basically a mix of introductory computer science and the Java Virtual Machine specification. The introductory computer science covers such things as binary arithmetic, hexadecimal notation and Big-Endian/Little-Endian architectures. Not many secrets here!
  2. The Sun Classes is probably the most 'secretive' part of the book. This covers the undocumented sun.* packages. These are normally used by the java.* packages to implement low-level functionality. These classes are not intended for general use as they may not be on all Java platforms and their APIs may change at any time. That's why they are not documented! Plenty of secrets here!
  3. Platform Dependent Java is basically a rehash of the Java Native Interface (JNI) specification, which anyone can freely download from JavaSoft and print out. Not many secrets here!
If you do want to write non-portable Java using the sun.* classes then this book is for you
If you want to write portable Java but would like in depth details then spend your£50 on the Java Virtual Machine + Java Language Specification instead! Not recommended.

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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