REVIEW - Java Foundation Classes in a Nutshell - A Desktop Quick Reference


Java Foundation Classes in a Nutshell

A Desktop Quick Reference


David Flanagan



O'Reilly (1999)




Christer Loefving


June 2000



Java foundation classes is the common name for the old java.awt and the newer java.swing classes. This book cover them both, together with the new Java2D, java Printing and Data transfer, i.e. drag and drop.

The first 100 pages attempt to give an introduction to the covered packages. In separate chapters topics like Swing programming and Java2D are discussed. The main part, API Quick Reference, has the same design as a telephone directory and covers 700 pages. For each class, in package and alphabetical order, you will find a vault of concise information; modifiers, implements, extends, overrides, since JDK verX, implemented by, etc. Thus the title is a natural complement to the well-known 'Java in a nutshell', which covers the non graphical APIs in Java 1.2.

I have always felt suspicious of this kind of book, partly because you already have the free JDK doc within easy reach. It has evolved and is nowadays available in both HTML and popular Win Docs formats. A legitimate expectation is that a title like this will offer something more than these standard sources of API-information and yes, you are given a short presentation of every single class. Also there are class diagrams, but these are few in number and can't possibly match the point-and-click features in JDK HTML-doc if you want to get a feeling for the class hierarchy in java.

The ambition is good, but the text is very technical, not to say boring and will never match real tutorials for the subject. As a suggestion I would say give a very short programming example for each class, because this is a feature I really miss from my habitual use of Java Doc. This would lift the title and perhaps get me buy it.

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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