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.
Quite some time ago I had announced the completion of Java eLearning Kit for Dummies. Well, sometimes things don’t go quite as planned in the publishing world and this edition of the book never quite got out the door. Fortunately, the book is still alive and those of you who eagerly anticipated the last book won’t be disappointed this time. What I’ll be doing is updating that previous manuscript to work with Java 8 and to include new Java 8 features such as lambda expressions.
Of course, I still want to avoid making any errors in the book if at all possible. That’s where you come into play. I need beta readers for this updated version of the book. You’ll get to hear about the latest Java 8 functionality and see it in action. This version of Java is really exciting because of the important changes it contains. As a beta reader, you’ll get to see the manuscript as I write it and make comments about the material it contains. In other words, you get to help shape the content of my book and make it a better product—one specifically designed to meet your needs.
Don’t worry about your credentials. In fact, that’s the entire purpose of the beta reader program. I want people who would actually read this book as participants, so your knowledge of Java is unimportant. This is a book for the beginner and doesn’t assume any knowledge on your part. In addition, the platform you use doesn’t matter. This book will address the requirements for using Java on the Mac, Windows, and Linux platforms. By the time you get done with the book, you’ll have gained new skills that you can use to better your position at work or to create applications as a hobby. No matter what your reason for wanting to learn Java, I’d love to hear from you as a potential beta reader because this book is for everyone who wants to learn something new about this language.
Anyone who participates will get their name mentioned in the Acknowledgements (unless you specifically mention that you’d rather not receive credit). The last edition of the book attracted 15 beta readers, all of whom contributed substantially to the high quality of that edition. If you’re interested in participating in this edition, I definitely welcome your input. Please contact me at John@JohnMuellerBooks.com if you want to learn more about the beta reader program and this book in particular.
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.