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Which factor is most important in choosing a book on a Java topic?

Which one comes out first
1% (4 votes)
Which one covers the most material
26% (102 votes)
Who the author is
14% (54 votes)
Who the publisher is
10% (39 votes)
What people are saying about it
41% (158 votes)
Something else (please comment)
8% (32 votes)
Total votes: 389


Something Else

Okay, this is obvious... my job requirements. I'd really like to read up on Java Swing and JXTA but my jobs are mostly server-side. Time limitations force me to stay boxed into the Java technologies I need to stay current on.


Does it have 'real world' examples? Do they seem to follow logical paths and simple explanations? Good example Java Concurrency in Practice (for one recent one I read).

Easy to read

The most important thing about book is that it has to be easy to read. It should to get the point across the first time (some books repeat themselves numerous times) and do so in a very concise and easy to read manner, usually like a lot of examples.

Good Books

As far as the subject matter goes I'm not too concerned, however I do most of my reading on the train so I prefer books that do not require me to be in front of a computer doing loads of code examples. Unfortunately most of the books on frameworks (such as Spring) seem to require this.


I pick the book by how the information is presented. I am not looking for a book that has the API's listed with the JavaDoc description and examples, but rather a book that provides how the APIs are to work, the issues with them, and basic examples that point out what was discussed. While I like examples, I want to see solid architecture as well, but I also don't want to see heavy OOD/P that hides the true substance of the example. I don't want examples to cut-n-paste them into my apps, I want examples that show the mechanics, and even how not to use the APIs. The EJB Series "Enterprise Javabeans" by Richard Monson Haefel, would be an excellent example of such a book. -Shawn

all of the above

depending on what I'm looking for. If there's only one book about the topic, there's little choice. If there's several author and publisher come into play. If that still leaves several, actual content gets evaluated as well as reviews. If that leaves several I get them all.

Book factors ...

  1. License to use code in my applications
  2. Useful prior edition(s)
  3. Complete instructions to quick start for practical use
  4. Reasonably current version support
  5. Strategic, reference implementation APIs, not tied to any particular IDE (aiming for portable applications)