REVIEW - Java Animation


Java Animation


Jay Burgess




SIGS books ()




Peter Pilgrim


February 1999



Let me say first that a book that is only 40 pages long is not designed to be read by ACCU developers. It is too short. Java Animation is one several titles in SIGS management briefings. The book is clearly aimed at our immediate managers, who presumably work from seven o'clock in the morning to seven o' clock at night. These poor IT personnel do not have time to read hefty volumes such as Core Java. The book is divided in 17 short sections.

The main theme of the book is about how I can add animation to my company's web page. How can a Java Applet do this for me? The introduction covers what is Java? Why is it portable across different architectures? Why does Java need a virtual machine interpreter? Section two talks about animation in HTML and the Java primitives used to draw graphics in an applet. It introduces our would-be manager to the idea of animation frames, using ubiquitous financial stocks scrolling tickertape as a prime example. There are sections devoted to the development environment and Java OOP terminology before a basic Filmstrip animation is discussed. Section 6 talks about applets in HTML documents and how to write tags to call your Java applet classes. Section 7 explains the basic definition of the Applet class, which itself is a lot of programmatic interface knowledge. The author does well enough to write a concise overview. However it is here that the book shows its age. The book was written when JDK 1.0.2 was the newest version of the standard kit, circa 1996! The final release JDK 1.2 is expected very early in 1999. However much of the information is still valid. To achieve successful animation in a Java applet, our manager needs to fully understand what threads are, how to manage them, how to use them, and how such threads work in animation. Threads covers sections 9 to 11. Double buffering and flicker frame animation is explained in section 12 and section 13. The remainder of the book covers fonts, colours and strings, drawing graphics and text on a canvas. A further section demonstrates clipping to achieve optimised drawing and repainting of applets. Finally there is section on using the MediaTracker to load images efficiently.

This book gives an overview of Java applets and animation technology. I cannot recommend this book even though it is well written, because of the age of the book. It is out of date, and the market place, and the public perception of Java language has moved far since this book was published! The book presents a narrow view of what a Java applet can achieve using the technology. You can do more with it than just add a tickertape to your web page. And what about other Internet technology like Dynamic HTML for example. The title of the book should have been Animation with Java Applets. An anonymous developer's last statement: I do not ever want to become a manager.

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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