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Wicked Cool Java by Brian D. Eubanks

Book Review Team
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Joined: Feb 15, 2002
Posts: 937
<pre>Author/s : Brian D. Eubanks
Publisher : No Starch Press
Category : Miscellaneous Java
Review by : Mark Spritzler
Rating : 7 horseshoes
</pre>
So what should I make of Wicked Cool Java. This Book has a bunch of "Code Bits, Open-Source Libraries, and Project Ideas", and it does. However, some of the bits and libraries might not be of interest to me or you at this moment, and just cool to look at, but misses on the wicked side.

There are core Java stuff, String stuff, parsing stuff, Math neuro net stuff, RSS feeds, and more. So, there isn't any one thing that is covered completely throughout the book. This is where I think this book misses. Because you might use an example and not use another till years later, or never.

I'd rather do a Google search. These items could be split into articles and posted on one web site.


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Book Review Team
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Joined: Feb 15, 2002
Posts: 937
<pre>Review by : Jason Menard
Rating : 6 horseshoes
</pre>

"Wicked Cool Java", by Brian D. Eubanks, bills itself as "an idea sourcebook" for Java developers who are "looking for interesting and useful APIs or for project ideas." This book serves as an introduction to a hodge-podge of APIs covering a breadth of topics. Eubanks devotes sections of the book to such overarching topics as processing XML and HTML, the semantic web, scientific and mathematical applications, graphics and data visualization, and multimedia among others. I would expect that most Java developers would find some topic within "Wicked Cool Java" that excites them.

"Wicked Cool Java" seems to fit squarely in the realm of the cookbook style of programming books. Each topic of discussion is punctuated with short code examples, and while many of the topics stand on their own, some do build on previous topics. The presentation and explanation are clear and the code is sufficiently illustrative.

I do have a couple of problems with the book. The first two chapters are "Java Language and the Core API" and "String Utilities." Given the stated objectives of the book, I have a hard time seeing where the first two chapters fit in. These chapters simply explain various aspects of the core Java language. Some of the information covers new Java 5 additions to the language, but much of it covers features that have been part of the language since 1.4 and even 1.1. In my opinion, there is nothing "wicked cool" about anonymous classes, for example. This is just one example of a basic feature of the language that I would think most people picking up the book should already be familiar with. The new Java 5 features discussed, Java 1.4 regular expressions, and the difference between "==" and "equals()" are but a few of the topics here that seem out of place. My other gripe is that URLs aren't given for most of the APIs under discussion. Instead the author expects us to visit the book's website for this information. While this isn't a big problem, it certainly is annoying.

Complaints aside, I did enjoy reading about many of the APIs that I was unfamiliar with. The text does inspire me to want to try out some of the material presented therein, which is after all what Eubanks was trying to accomplish. So while I might not call it "Wicked Cool", "Kinda Cool" might be a bit more appropriate.


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Book Review Team
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Joined: Feb 15, 2002
Posts: 937
<pre>Review by : Katrina Owen
Rating : 6 horseshoes
</pre>
Wicked Cool Java reads like a blog. I'd probably visit the blog regularly. Some days I'd skim, some days I'd read through thoroughly, and occasionally I'd bookmark for future reference. I'd probably go to the blog and do searches now and then when attempting to approach new (to me) problems, and I'd browse the archives some days while procrastinating.

Topics covered range from generics and String manipulation to MIDI and harmonics, from graphs and graphics to scientific applications, from semantics to logic, artificial intelligence and neural networks to programming lego robots.

I'm sure every single bit covered is Wicked Cool to someone... though it is difficult to imagine any one person finding ALL of it to be Wicked Cool. Except maybe the author, who expresses an admirable amount of enthusiasm and interest!

The target audience is people who have a good basic familiarity with Java, and are ready to see what wonders will pop out if you poke it in unexpected places.

If you are very new to programming, a lot of the discussions might be difficult to follow.


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Don Stadler
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Joined: Feb 10, 2004
Posts: 451
I find the relatively low rating here to be slightly surprising. I own this book and it's one of the books I use the most after reference books. Whenever I come across a weird problem I reach for this one.
 
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