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This book is a companion volume to my previous books Java in a Nutshell, Java Foundation Classes in a Nutshell, and Java Enterprise in a Nutshell. While those books are quick-references at heart, they also include accelerated introductions to various Java™ programming topics and example code, usually in the form of program fragments. I wrote Java Examples in a Nutshell to pick up where those books leave off, providing a suite of complete working examples, ready to compile and run, suitable for novice Java programmers and experts alike.

The first edition of this book came about when Java 1.1 was released at more than double the size of Java 1.0. While I was busy writing additional examples for the second edition of Java in a Nutshell, the engineers at Sun were busy turning Java into something that could no longer fit in a nutshell. With its quick-reference section expanding so much, Java in a Nutshell could no longer hold many examples. The examples in Java in a Nutshell were one of its most popular features, and it was hard to have to cut them.

This book is the result of those cuts, and I am glad that we made the decision we did. Given the freedom to devote an entire book to examples, I was able to write the examples I really wanted to write. I was able to go into more depth than I ever would have before, and I found myself really enjoying the exploration and experimentation that went into developing the examples. For the second edition of the book, I had the pleasure of exploring and experimenting with new parts of the Java API: Swing™, Java 2D™, servlets, and XML. And for the third edition, I got to play around with New I/O, Java Sound, and several new minor APIs, such as logging and preferences. I hope you will use these examples as a starting point for your own explorations, and that you feel some of the same excitement I felt while writing them.

As its name implies, this book teaches by example, which is how many people learn best. There is not a lot of hand-holding, nor will you find detailed documentation of the exact syntax and behavior of Java statements. This book is designed to work in tandem with Java in a Nutshell, Java Foundation Classes in a Nutshell, and Java Enterprise in a Nutshell. You'll probably find those volumes quite useful while studying the examples here. You may also be interested in the other books in the O'Reilly Java series. Those books are listed at http://java.oreilly.com.

This book is organized into four parts. Chapters 1 and 2 are introductions to the Java language itself, suitable for programmers who are just learning Java. Chapters 3 through 10 cover the core Java APIs. The APIs covered in these chapters are documented in Java in a Nutshell. Chapters 11 through 17 form the third part of the book. These chapters demonstrate Java's graphics and graphical user interface APIs, which are documented in Java Foundation Classes in a Nutshell. Finally, Chapters 18 through 21 contain examples of server-side or "enterprise" APIs and complement the book Java Enterprise in a Nutshell.

You can read the chapters in this book in more or less whatever order they strike your interest. There are some interdependencies between the chapters, however, and some chapters really ought to be read in the order they are presented. For example, it is important to read Chapter 3 before you read Chapter 5. Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 are aimed at programmers just starting out with Java. Seasoned Java programmers will probably want to skip them.

By their very nature, nontrivial programming examples are rarely about only a single topic, and there are many examples here there could be placed in more than one chapter. The final chapter of this book is a special "Index of Examples" in which you can look up a class, method, or programming topic and find examples that cover that topic. This example index is distinct from, and provided in addition to, the regular index that appears at the back of the book.

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