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Supplemental books for SCJP prep

Venkat Bommakanti

Joined: Jun 25, 2002
Posts: 11
Hi all,
At the outset, thanks to this community for all the help.
I wish to take the SCJP cert exam and 'am newbie to this forum.
Here are questions:
In addition to many mock exams, I understand the following 2
books make a good study resource:
1. K&B (ie, B&K :-) book
2. K&R (orange :-) book
However, in the SCJP FAQ section here, re the K&B book it says:
"...It won't teach you Swing or Threads...". Assuming one need
not be concerned with Swing (since its not on the exam?),
Q1. What might be a good supplemental resource to cover threads
from a begginer's perspective? Per Sun's site, threads are part
of the syllabus for SCJP exam.
Q2. Also, does the K&B book cover all other syllabus requirements?
If not, is there a supplemental book required for unaddressed
topics ?
I researched the forums for a clear answer but could not find
any. I'd appreciate it if someone could help. Thanks.
[ February 06, 2004: Message edited by: Venkat Bommakanti ]
Phil Rhodes
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 27, 2003
Posts: 65
The Kathy Sierra / Bert Bates book teaches you what you need to know about Threads "FOR THE EXAM." That is, if you get to the point where you can answer their sample questions on Threading, you can answer the questions on the exam..
What it doesn't do is teach you enough about multi-threaded programming to really take full advantage of threading in the real world, IMHO...
If you want a book with a more comprehensive treatment of threads, look at:
Concurrent Programming in Java, Doug Lea, Addison-Wesley
Java Thread Programming, Paul Hyde, Sams
Java Threads, Scott Oaks & Henry Wong, O'Reilly
You don't need to worry about Swing at all for the SCJP (at least the 1.4 version). So if you plan to work on server-side code primarily and won't be writing GUI's, there's no pressing reason to learn Swing right now. It is needed for the SCJD though, IIRC. So if you pass SCJP and decide to go on to SCJD, then you'll have to do some Swing for sure.
Also, the ultimate supplemental books for Java are the Java Language Specification, and the Java Virtual Machine Specification. I believe both can be downloaded for free from Sun's website, or you can buy print and bound copies. Neither one is strictly necessary just to pass the SCJP though... but if you run into some weird code you can't understand, the JLS and VM specs are the final word.
[ February 06, 2004: Message edited by: Phil Rhodes ]

A+, Network+, SCJP, SCWCD<br />preparing for SCBCD, SCEA, CompTIA I-Net+
Bert Bates

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8898
Hi Venkat,
Thanks for asking about our book! Did you know that there are over 2300 Java books on Amazon? Java is such a huge topic that there is no one book that can cover it all. (For example, I have about 5 books on Swing alone, and I still could use more!). Our certification book is focused on the SCJP 1.4 exam. That's its goal! We like to think along the way that you'll learn a lot of good fundamental Java too.
I guess my message here is to watch out for any Java book that tries to wear too many hats. My favorite Java books tend to pick one area and really do a good job of covering that area. We'd love it if you choose our book, but the other book you mentioned is also good. Just don't fall for any book that claims to teach you everything about Java, it'd have to be about 11,000 pages long
Good luck in your studies, and stick around the ranch, it's an incredible resource.

Spot false dilemmas now, ask me how!
(If you're not on the edge, you're taking up too much room.)
Kathy Sierra
Cowgirl and Author

Joined: Oct 10, 2002
Posts: 1589
Howdy -- our book does *not*, in my opinion (and that of others) prepare you for the significant and serious issues that involve multi-threading in the real world. Yes it introduces you to threads, and gives you a big start (and enough for the exam), but I agree with others here... to truly understand the implications of threads, you need something more. I'm not sure which book to recommend, though. I have to think about that a little.
Having said that, it really depends on the type of development you're doing. If you're doing client-side programming, you definitely should understand more about threads. If you're doing EJB, well, you're not even allowed to *think* about threads, so you could certainly postpone learning the more detailed ins and outs of threading in Java... as long as you understand overall concurrency issues related to, say, databases and transactions (isolation levels, etc.)
Although for Servlets and JSPs, you should know more about threads.
For J2ME, hmmmm... it's perhaps not that much of an issue, although you definitely need to know how to manage threads, and especially how to start threads from your event-handling / listener callback code. And that there's a big limit on the number of threads you can use (10, for JTWI, I think). Oops, wrong forum The SCMAD beta just started... so I have J2ME on the brain right now.
Anyway, back to my original comment. I agree with the folks who say our book doesn't do enough on threads for any *serious* real-world threading, but that doesn't necessarily mean you'll need that in your immediate development, *especially* if you're doing EJB server-side only work.
So, consider the nature of your current development needs, because there's only so much you can learn at one time, and rather than studying more thread issues, you might have more specialized needs you should pursue (like Struts, for example, if you're new to web app development... or maybe even a specific IDE or testing tools or UML or design patterns or... AAACK there's so much! It's making my head hurt
Venkat Bommakanti

Joined: Jun 25, 2002
Posts: 11
Originally posted by Kathy Sierra:
... Yes it introduces you to threads, and gives you a big start (and enough for the exam)...

Thanks, that addresses my concerns :-)
I was hoping to be efficient in prep for the exam.
Too many books may spoil the cert !
Also, Bert & Phil, thanks for your notes.
Off I go on my 1-way journey to SCJP-land ;-)
Phil Rhodes
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 27, 2003
Posts: 65
Venkat, as far as just passing the exam goes, you'll be fine with
just the K&B book + visiting JavaRanch, and maybe some mock exams you find on the Internet.
I used Kathy and Bert's book to prep for my SCJP test, with only the occassional look at another book for reference, and passed easily. I feel pretty confident in saying, if you buy and read the K&B, and reach a point where you can easily answer the sample questions in the book (that is, understand them, not just memorize the answers) you will have NO problem
with the real exam. The tone and difficulty of their sample questions are VERY close to the real exam.
I agree. Here's the link:
subject: Supplemental books for SCJP prep
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