What is the best portable reference book for Java?

by on June 7, 2011

Q: Okay, first a bit of detail of the target experience. I have developed PHP webpages and taught myself using php.net. I would type a general keyword that I remember from other languages (such as ‘kill’ for file deletion). It would give me a list of results or lead me to the page because i used a real keyword. The page would explain the function, limits, warnings etc. then give syntax variations, plus a working example.

I am working on studying for an internship position for a company developing Java programs. I am a beginner in the language and work best when I can look things up quickly rather than trial-error or ask my supervisor questions. I have a book that lays out some basic information, but not enough. Example:

I have a text variable (string) with a value of “3”. There is a method to extract the “3” and return a numeric 3. The trick is that it’s not located in String, but in Integer! Integer.parseInt(str)

Another concern is when I am developing applets and need to refer to an object. What kind of events and properties does that object have…..

So please, is there a portable desk reference you can point me to, book, pdf, table, website etc? I want to be a reliable new employee not asking a hundred questions on syntax, available functions, properties etc. Thank you so much for helping!

2 Responses to “What is the best portable reference book for Java?”
    Picked as best answer

    Your best direct source is the official Java API: site:http://download.oracle.com/javase/6/docs/api/ This is great for looking up the various methods offered by various classes.

    Nothing is going to beat a straight up google search for how to do something. This is what the pros do all the time. A search for “java convert string to int” in google turned up the answer you needed pretty quick.

    If you’re only using a basic text editor and not a real Java IDE, you’ll want to do that, it will make Java development a LOT easier. Ideally use whatever they’re using at the job, otherwise go for Eclipse (http://www.eclipse.org). It’s free and has a lot of time saving features including nice integration with the Java documentation.

    For some books, I really liked Headfirst Java 2nd Edition. Since you’re coming from PHP to Java it’s really important that you get a solid base of doing object oriented design for your programs. It’s a lot more important that knowing different functions off the top of your head. You also might like Core Java, Volume I: Fundamentals, Eighth Edition


    Actually, it’s funny that you mention Eclipse. Experience with it is actually a requirement for the job. I have a Java2 book with examples so I decided to use Eclipse for all of my Java learning :). The only thing I don’t like about the software is the long wait for the splash screen. I rarely put flash screens in my own software and when I do I always have an option to disable it. But more to the point, I love how when you dot an object or class, it gives you available choices, just a bit inconvenient when trying to test out an idea. BTW, I used WGet to download all of the oracle website :). Thanks for the advice about headfirst. Most of my experience is in Visual Basic, HTML, PHP and a little JScript