Friday, July 22, 2005

Desktop Java Live - A Must Have For Desktop Developers

Recently I was fortunate enough to win a copy of Desktop Java Live by Scott Delap (who also runs clientjava.com) during a book promotion over at Javaranch. Desktop Java Live isn’t your typical “how-to” java book full of API references and examples of how to create JFrame’s, JComboBoxes, and custom widgets. DJL is a pioneering book distributed by a pioneering publisher (SourceBeat) that teaches you how to write desktop applications using best practices as well as how to use a plethora of open source libraries to enhance and ease the development of your applications.

Currently there are 7 chapters available with chapter 8 due out the beginning of August. If you don’t know how SourceBeat titles work I’d suggest visiting their website and seeing what they offer. Books are bought on a yearly subscription and for that year you have access to any updated material as well as new chapters as they are made available. A lot better than waiting years for second and third editions. You get the hottest topics while they are still hot.

Scott starts your journey in chapter one and introduces you to desktop applications all over again. He talks about the swing (no pun intended) from rich desktop apps to browser based web applications over the past several years and how to determine if your application is right for the desktop. From there you move on to Layout Managers, GUI Builders (not to be confused with GUI designers), Look And Feel and then to a chapter that is pure gold. Swing Threads.

Chapter 5 on Swing Threads is also the sample chapter available as a free download. This chapter introduces you to the Event Dispatching Thread and discusses common threading pitfalls in Swing applications. Scott then shows you several different freely available API’s that have been made available to help Swing developers deal with threads more effectively. You can search the web for weeks and not find the culmination of useful information available in this single chapter of Scott’s book.

The book continues on with data binding and validation and to my knowledge is the only book that actually teaches you how to use JGoodies data binding and validation frameworks. The book is full of sample code. You never get bogged down in API references or theory. But theory is still important. And I had the honor of being able to read Chapter 8 prior to its release this August which is about Swing Patterns. This chapter also contains a sample application that uses what you have learned all the way to this point. Chapter 8 discusses MVC (Model-View-Controller) and MVP (Model-View-Presenter) and how they are used in and with Swing. Again, no other book that I know of teaches you what Scott does in this chapter alone. And although chapter 8 as well as many other chapters are biased to Swing the concepts are true for almost any toolkit. If you only buy this book for one chapter, it should be chapter 8.

On the horizon are chapters on Java WebStart, Installers, Obfuscators, and the all important Testing. Scott writes in a way that that is easy to follow and understand but does not water down the topics. Scott knows what he is talking about and that shows throughout the book. If you’ve never written a Swing application this book won’t explain how to do that. But if you are even remotely familiar with how to develop Swing applications this book will help your next application be the best it can be.

16 comments:

Ayisha said...

nice site for more books I have some more gifts..



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