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Hardcore Java by [Simmons Jr, Robert]
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Hardcore Java Kindle Edition

2.9 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Length: 346 pages

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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: 917 KB
  • Print Length: 346 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0596005687
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (March 11, 2004)
  • Publication Date: February 9, 2009
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0026OR2IQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,720,488 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Alberto Gemin on June 30, 2004
Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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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.)
Comment 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
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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By A Customer on March 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
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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