<pre>Author/s : Gregory M. Travis Publisher : Manning Category :Advanced Java Review by : Rob Ross Rating : 10 horseshoes</pre> The book "JDK 1.4 Tutorial" by Gregory M. Travis has proven to be a valuable resource to me over the last year. Even though the 1.4 version of the JDK has been out for a while now, many applications and development teams are still using the 1.3 JDK. When they finally make the switch to 1.4, this book is all they need to quickly bring them up to speed on all the goodies that the new JDK has to offer. Note that this book is NOT a general-purpose java tutorial; there are plenty of other books that cover that topic. As the author states, "The ideal reader of this book is an intermediate or expert Java programmer who needs to use the new features of JDK 1.4." The book covers NIO (New Input/Output), Java Web Start, Logging, Assertions, Regular Expressions, Preferences API, and the Secure Socket Extension. It also covers the changes and additions the 1.4 JDK introduces to the Java2D and Collections API, and enhancements to the Exceptions mechanism. The book covers these topics in great detail and provides source-code examples for how to best use the new features. In my own development work, I have found the chapters on Advanced NIO, Assertions, and the Preferences API most valuable, and the examples in the book allowed me to very quickly implement the new functionality in my applications. I have used the book both as a tutorial for the new 1.4 features, as well as a reference source for exploring the detailed intricacies involved in using the new APIs and in both cases I have found the tone and style of the author's writing to effectively convey the information in a clear, concise manner. If you are an experienced Java developer and want to learn about all the new features in the 1.4 JDK, this is the book for you. It's well written, includes extensive coverage of the new features, and doesn't waste any pages with "HelloWorld" tutorial programs that are covered already in countless beginner's Java books.
Simon, If all you want is a study guide for the new items in the 1.4 test it would be overkill for that purpose. The only "new" topic is assertions, so you're better off with a basic SCJP study guide. The assertion chapter is very good though for learning how to use that feature.