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review: Component Development for the Java Platform

Component Development for the Java Platform was something of a surprise. I came across it, when I was looking at the author's Jawin Java/COM bridge. My first reaction was it's just another Java book, and there are surprisingly few good Java books. But no. It's an excellent survey of lesser understood Java functionality, which to otherwise gather you'd otherwise have to spend half a day trawling the web for articles, the other half checking a flock of app servers out of anonymous CVS and the rest of the week being an inveterate spec reader. Do all that anyway, but use this book as your guide.

There are chapters on reflection, JNI, dynamic proxies, serialization and program generators. The coverage of the classloader architecture is probably the best in print. Highlights were the detailing of the jar format, object serialization and particularly the rationale behind the design decisions for Jawin in the appendix.

If you want to know what's so cool and useful about dynamic proxies, need to write a classloader or a plugin framework, this is a good bet for your next book. And I'll admit to liking this book especially because after reading it, you'll start to appreciate that Java's static type system is something that can get in the way when you want to create managed components or just write Java software that's designed to stay up for weeks rather than hours.

Finally, if there's a second edition in the pipeline, I'd hope it would include a section on JMX, and maybe Isolates and JSR175 (both slated for JDK1.5).

January 27, 2003 11:25 PM


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