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Java Rules by Douglas Dunn

Johannes de Jong

Joined: Jan 27, 2001
Posts: 5089
<pre>Author/s : Douglas Dunn
Publisher : Addison Wesley
Category : Java Advanced
Review by : Mapraputa Is
Rating : 10 horseshoes
I liked this book a lot yet was uncertain how to evaluate it. A book should be judged according to the law of its genre and I had difficulty in defining what the genre is. Finally I found the word: "commentary". Commentary on Java "legal code" - a set of specifications - JLS, JVM, Inner Classes, Unicode standard, selected parts from Java API, even JavaSoft tutorial on the Collection framework, with detailed explanations.
Two first chapters, "Lexical Structure" and "Compilation Units" reflect on corresponding sections of the JLS. Inner classes, static, super, and this keyword (chapter 3) are covered to a depth I've not seen before. The chapters on data (4-5) include not only primitives and String/StringBuffer, but also BigInteger, BigDecimal, Date, Calendar, NumberFormat classes which makes the whole approach fundamental and encyclopedic. The last sixth chapter covers the Collections framework. Here the discussion becomes especially pedantic and it could have been quite a boring reading if the author did not reveal principles that underlie the framework's design. Those insights seem turn magically the framework's apparent anarchy into order, my boredom into epiphany, and author's pedantry into blessing.
Overall impression: the topics chosen are covered both deeply and fully. Explanations are always clear and complete, nothing is left for the reader to guess.
The fact that the book is about Java basics should not mislead you: beginners are not the target audience. You need a firm grasp of the language to appreciate the discussion.
More info at
More info at
More info at
[ January 23, 2002: Message edited by: Johannes de Jong ]
[ August 13, 2003: Message edited by: Thomas Paul ]
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
My passionate "thank you" to Michael Ernest and Johannes de Jong for their feedback on this review. What they read from my first draft - was simply amazing. The text is much better now, after Michael cut out most of my poetical and curly figures of speech.

Uncontrolled vocabularies
"I try my best to make *all* my posts nice, even when I feel upset" -- Philippe Maquet
Barry Gaunt
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 03, 2002
Posts: 7729
Is there an Errata for this book?

Ask a Meaningful Question and HowToAskQuestionsOnJavaRanch
Getting someone to think and try something out is much more useful than just telling them the answer.
James Chegwidden
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 06, 2002
Posts: 201
I use the Dunn book for reference and as a supplement to my Java class.

Author and Instructor, my book
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
This is an amazing book that should be required reading for anyone who wants a really good understanding of the language. And the best part is that you can get it for under $5 on the amazon marketplace right now!
You can also download his second volume:

Associate Instructor - Hofstra University
Amazon Top 750 reviewer - Blog - Unresolved References - Book Review Blog
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
The more I think about it, the more I realize that it's not just a good book, it's an idea (or maybe a dream) about an alternative line of books. Like O'Reilly's "In a Nutshell", but the idea is opposite to it, it's "in full detail", not "in a nutshell"). I would love to see a book about XML, for example, written in the same style!
Douglas Dunn

Joined: Nov 20, 2007
Posts: 4
I no longer own

At the request of a handful of Java authors and book reviewers closely associated with the Java Ranch, both of my books are being republished as a wiki at

This is the first time in over a decade that my work has been presented as a whole. The wiki includes the full text of both Java Rules and Java Rules, Volume 2: Mastering the Fundamentals of the Java Programming Language

If you have any questions or comments, please contact me at

[ March 26, 2008: Message edited by: Douglas Dunn ]
[ March 26, 2008: Message edited by: Douglas Dunn ]
Don Stadler
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 10, 2004
Posts: 451
This is WONDERFUL news. I saw the first book years ago but wasn't yet ready. By the time I began looking for it the bookstore told me it was out of print. And the existance of a second volume is a marvelous surprise!

Thank you so much, Mr. Dunn!
Frederico Bruno

Joined: Aug 01, 2003
Posts: 10


Does anyone nows what happened to javaspecs site?
I found this today, but only get a "sponsored listing"...

Frederico Bruno<br />Corroios - Portugal
Don Stadler
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 10, 2004
Posts: 451
Javaspec seemed to be gone for a while but I just checked the link - it's back online. Thanks, Doug.
I agree. Here's the link:
subject: Java Rules by Douglas Dunn
It's not a secret anymore!