It’s always important to keep your software updated with the latest patches. This is especially true with Java because so many hackers target even the smallest weaknesses. According to a recent ComputerWorld article, Java 7 has reached the end of its public life for updates. You need to upgrade to Java 8 in order to continue receiving free updates from Oracle. The rapid pace of updates that vendors rely on now is made necessary by hackers who apparently create malware updates even faster. Even at the fast release pace that Oracle is using, the malware just keeps rolling out. In other words, as a developer you need to exercise proactive coding to keep security risks at bay, in addition to relying on Oracle and other vendors for help.
A number of people have asked me about updates to Java eLearning Kit for Dummies. As far as I know, the publisher currently doesn’t have plans for an update. Of course, that could change at some point. Until the next update, however, the examples I’ve tested with Java 8 work fine on a Windows system. I’ll be performing additional testing on both OS X and Linux. However, I don’t have quite the number of people testing the book code as I had when I wrote it. If anyone does encounter a problem with the code, I’d greatly appreciate hearing about it at John@JohnMuellerBooks.com. I can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to fix absolutely every issue, but I’ll try to find workarounds and publish them on the blog for you.
As always, please don’t send me your personal code—I only work with book-specific code. Using the downloadable source is always the best way to get the most you can from a book. I’ve also created the Using My Coding Books Effectively post to help you get the most from my books. It’s important to me that you get the most you can from my books.
Developers have been using Java 7 for quite some time now for creating and testing applications with additional functionality. However, until May 2nd, Java 7 wasn’t made generally available for users. Oracle plans to upgrade the entire user base at this point, so now is the time to start thinking about deploying those applications you’ve been developing. Just in case you’re new to Java programming, you can use my latest book, Java eLearning Kit for Dummies to learn how to work with Java quickly using the Windows, Linux, or Macintosh operating systems. The accompanying CD provides a fully interactive environment that includes impromptu tests and animation, to make learning a lot more fun. You can read the Java eLearning Kit for Dummies Manuscript Finished to get more information about the book. Be sure to contact me at John@JohnMuellerBooks.com if you have any questions about this new offering.
This new version of Java has a lot to offer. For example, it’s the first time Oracle has provided both the Java Development Kit (JDK) and JavaFX Software Development Kit (SDK) for the Macintosh OS X. You can find a quick overview of why you should upgrade to Java 7 on the Oracle site. A more complete, developer friendly, list of changes appears on the OpenJDK site. Long time Java developers say there is nothing earth shattering in the upgrade, but there are a wealth of welcome enhancements. Just which enhancement is most important depends on which developer you talk to. Java eLearning Kit for Dummies discusses which of these enhancements are most important to beginning developers—those targeted by my book. I would say that the feature that intrigues me most is the improved support for dynamic languages—a feature I may try out soon. You can find the official Oracle feature list on their site at http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/jdk7-relnotes-418459.html.
Of course, now that Java 7 is out everyone is already starting to discuss Java 8. (In fact, some people are already talking about Java 9.) As with any new project, there are a lot of ideas and vaporware right now, with a true lack of any substance. You can be sure that I’ll keep you updated on the progress of Java 8. In the meantime, if you choose to get my book, I’d love to hear from you. Let me know what you like and what you’d like to see improved in the next edition. However, whatever you do, don’t keep silent if you have a question. I really do want to help you get the most out of everything I write.