In late 1995, the Java programming language burst onto the Internet scene and gained instant celebrity status. The promise of Java technology was that it would become the universal glue that connects users with information, whether that information comes from web servers, databases, information providers, or any other imaginable source. Indeed, Java is in a unique position to fulfill this promise. It is an extremely solidly engineered language that has gained acceptance by all major vendors, except for Microsoft. Its built-in security and safety features are reassuring both to programmers and to the users of Java programs. Java even has built-in support that makes advanced programming tasks, such as network programming, database connectivity, and multithreading, straightforward.
Since 1995, Sun Microsystems has released six major revisions of the Java Development Kit. Over the course of the last nine years, the Application Programming Interface (API) has grown from about 200 to over 3,000 classes. The API now spans such diverse areas as user interface construction, database management, internationalization, security, and XML processing. JDK 5.0, released in 2004, is the most impressive update of the Java language since the original Java release.
The book you have in your hand is the first volume of the seventh edition of the Core Java 2 book. With the publishing of each edition, the book followed the release of the Java Development Kit as quickly as possible, and each time, we rewrote the book to take advantage of the newest Java features. In this edition, we are enthusiastic users of generic collections, the enhanced for loop, and other exciting features of JDK 5.0.
As with the previous editions of this book, we still target serious programmers who want to put Java to work on real projects. We still guarantee no nervous text or dancing tooth-shaped characters. We think of you, our reader, as a programmer with a solid background in a programming language. But you do not need to know C++ or object-oriented programming. Based on the responses we have received to the earlier editions of this book, we remain confident that experienced Visual Basic, C, or COBOL programmers will have no trouble with this book. (You don't even need any experience in building graphical user interfaces for Windows, UNIX, or the Macintosh.)