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Hardcore Java [Kindle Edition]

Robert Simmons Jr
2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Java has quickly become one of the most important languages in programming, particularly for professional and enterprise-level projects. From its infancy as a language primarily used for web applets to its maturity through servlets, Enterprise JavaBeans, and database access, Java has become a complex and robust tool for today's developer.Hardcore Java takes this language and breaks it apart, piece by piece, revealing the important secrets and tricks that will take you from a junior-level programmer to a seasoned and expert developer. You'll fly through the fundamentals and quickly find yourself learning about advanced memory management techniques, optimization and bytecode-level enhancements, and the techniques required to build lightning-fast GUIs. Throughout the book, you'll also master the art of writing and maintaining bulletproof and error-proof code, all while grasping the intricacies of the Java language.Hardcore Java covers:

  • Use of the final keyword to optimize and protect your Java classes.
  • Complete and thorough coverage of all types of nested classes, including how to optimize anonymous and inner classes.
  • Detailed discussion of immutable objects, including unique tips on when to use them (and when not to).
  • Elimination of bugs through exception-handling management.
  • In-depth studies of constants, including their impact on the Java memory model.
  • The most thorough discussion of reflection in print, moving far beyond other books' "Hello World" coverage.
  • Construction and use of dynamic proxies, in both Java Standard and Enterprise editions.
  • Expansive coverage of weak references, including usage patterns and their role in garbage collection and memory management.
Hardcore Java is an invaluable addition to every programmer's library, and even the most advanced developers will find themselves moving beyond their own conceptions into truly advanced applications of the language. Thousands of lines of code, heavily commented and easily runnable, illustrate each concept in the book.

Editorial Reviews Review

Just as software development is an iterative process in which an application is never truly "done," the education of a developer should continue for years. You can use Hardcore Java as a guide to the transition from novice Java programmer to journeyman, or as a map to parts of the language you haven't explored (or explored adequately) in your development work to date. Because of those design goals, this book is something of a catch-all, covering about a dozen general topics ranging from exception-handling to nested classes (and interfaces!) and the reflection API. The coverage clearly derives from the author's "lessons learned" notes, and they're rich with information. If nothing in this book surprises you, you're probably very experienced with Java.

In addition to this book's tutorial function, Hardcore Java puts forth and defends a number of opinions about the design and style of Java software. One example: After explaining how bit fields work--bit fields aren't widely used in Java programming, and their advantages may be interesting to some programmers--Robert Simmons points out that they're inherently limited in their ability to contain data, and that this can cause problems. This is the kind of design tradeoff that more advanced Java programmers have to consider, and Simmons does the Java community a service by showing programmers how to think critically about the capabilities of their language. --David Wall

Topics covered: Advanced Java topics, including final constants, collections, exception handling, and nested classes. There's a useful bit about getting customers to help you design the data models they need, and very extensive coverage of reflection.


"Hardcore Java will help even the most advanced developers move beyond their own limited understanding about Java into truly advanced applications of the language. That transformation of a developer from an intermediate-level programmer to a true guru is the goal of this book which distills years of experience into a cincise but generous compendium of java guru expertise. It reveals the difficult and rarely understood secrets of the language that true master programmers need to know." Industrial Networking and Open Control, June

Product Details

  • File Size: 876 KB
  • Print Length: 348 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (March 11, 2004)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0026OR2IQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,042,932 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

2.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
69 of 71 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing June 30, 2004
In the preface, the author states that the goal of this book is to transform a developer from the intermediate level to a true guru. In the back cover it even promises that "you'll master the art of writing error-prone (sic!) code", and the reference to "error-prone code" sadly finds its confirmation once one starts reading.
It takes about two chapters to demolish the author's credibility as a guru, and you will be reading the rest of the book with a skeptical eye, doubting every assertion that looks questionable and suspecting that the author is talking well above his level of competence, and patronizing about it too!
The first chapters are an atrocious review of some Java concepts, densely packed with serious mistakes, not typos, mistakes (plenty of typos too).
As an example, on page 9 the definition of the `for' statement is wrong, a simple check of the Java Language Specification would have spared the author some embarrassment.
On page 15 the author gives us wrong rules for labels in Java, and in the same page he confuses the logic of the `break' and `continue' statements, providing also a logically wrong code example, just to screw-up things even better.
I would not know how to describe the section on "Chained deferred initialization" on page 53, "raving" maybe. This one is cited in the errata page at, and the "author regrets that it slipped through the proverbial cracks". I am more concerned that something like that has been actually written (complete with code samples!), than that it has passed unscathed through editing and reviewing. Let's hope it was written by somebody else playing with the author's laptop. Somebody who does not know what JVM means.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
A typo from the back cover sums things up, "Also, you'll master the art of writing and maintaining bulletproof and error-prone code...". I suggest going to the O'Reilly website and reading the errata before buying.
Another one of my favorite lines in the book is, "The only way to clear an entire bit...". Anyway, why is there a 5 page discussion on bit manipulation in a book entitled Harcore Java?
I wanted to like this book. There is some good advice here, but you have to sift through a lot of text to find it. The first chapter, of 42 pages, contains a lot of very basic beginner type information and could be reduced to:
1. Chain constructors because...
2. Don't hide exception information...
3. Make the default case of an if/else or switch be an assert because...
Discussions about every object descending from java.lang.Object, if statements, ternary expressions, for loops, break, continue, labels, and a reminder that System.exit() causes your program to exit, are misplaced in all but the most basic of books for beginners. That's not how this book is advertised.
The author mentions assert and takes a swipe at a discussion on assert versus the various runtime exceptions. A good opportunity to discuss Design by Contract and how it's core tenants will lead to asserts and NOT IllegalArgumentException (and it's ilk) is missed entirely. This is the kind of information I would expect in a Hardcore book.
The author appears to really like reflection. Too bad there are no good examples on why you would want to use reflection, such as dynamic mock objects, overcoming a few difficulties while unit testing, specific library implementations (making JMS messages look like function calls, for example), etc.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Full of errors, avoid April 20, 2004
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book has many errors, both typographical and factual. A lot of the advice is dodgy, to say the least. My impression is that the author is trying to write beyond his competence level, but at the same times manages to be patronizing. I'm currently preparing a (practically) page-by-page critique of the problems with this tome. I'll publish a link here when I have a substantial section completed. (Note - this goes way beyond the errata published on the O'Reilly site.)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Book for Junior Java Developer January 20, 2006
By java_rw
With all the criticism and found errors being correct, junior Java developer absolutely should not ignore this book.

Book is filled up with the good practical techniques and rules of the thumb described in a simple and effective manner. Some techniques, for example use of readResolve method in constant serialization, are explained better and in more practical manner than "Effective Java" does.

Real book's name should be "Practical Java development for beginners"
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK but not a Java bible March 29, 2004
By A Customer
The author of this book recently visited the Java Forums to discuss it and it was noted that he had a misundertanding of the protected scope. That's a pretty fundamental part of Java.
From the sample chapter on the O'Reily site I've come across a few things I find to be poor advice, such as making Singletons extensible and spending time trying to speed up Logging.
Other than that, this book does cover a lot of poorly understood and misunderstood topics in Java. Just don't take all advice in this book as law. A good starting point but there many other schools of thought.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect
The book was in great condition and arrived at a good time. I was very pleased.
Published 9 months ago by Kyle bridenstine
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Book on Becoming a Better Java Programmer
If you are serious about developing a mindset to becoming a better programmer, this is a very good book. Read more
Published on May 10, 2010 by Indikos
2.0 out of 5 stars Hardcore? Hardly.
I usually don't participate in these reviews, except to read them, and I wish I'd read some before buying this book. Read more
Published on August 15, 2007 by Shawn Eion Smith
2.0 out of 5 stars don't buy if you're an experienced java programmer
No need to read this book if you already have some experience with Java in a moderate sized project. Read more
Published on August 31, 2005 by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Intermediate Java by a peer
This book disappointed me. The title raised so high expectations. I started very enthusiastically to read the book and ended in wading through quite a mess. Read more
Published on May 17, 2005 by ws__
4.0 out of 5 stars Deep coverage, but not hardcore
The book's title is misleading. The book delves into some not-so-well-known aspects of Java. Unfortunately, the author's arrogant tone is distracting. Read more
Published on March 11, 2005 by Kevin J. Schmidt
2.0 out of 5 stars Definitely not hard core
When I saw the title, Hardcore Java, I expected that the content would

be so intense, I might not understand much of it. But that wasn't the

case. Read more
Published on December 16, 2004 by Bill Wohler
4.0 out of 5 stars Newer prints of this book are better...
I purchased a copy of this book a couple of months ago and was fortunate to obtain a more recent printing than the earlier reviewers probably had. Read more
Published on October 29, 2004 by J. A. Bradley
2.0 out of 5 stars Overall A Big Disappointment
While there are a few nuggets of wisdom sprinkled throughout the book, there is far too much fluff and error to make it a worthwhile read. Read more
Published on July 6, 2004 by Jeff C
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice intro to slightly advanced Java...
The title "Hardcore Java" is definitely overkill. A better one may be "Stuff a new Java developer might not know yet". Read more
Published on May 27, 2004 by Nick
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