I've been programming in Java almost exclusively since late 1995, when the 1.0 JDK was still a beta if I remember correctly. Before that, I programmed mainly in C and during a brief dark period in my life, Visual Basic. Since I started in Java during the early days, there weren't nearly as many resources available as there now are. Some suggestions:
- Get a copy of JBuilder, but make sure you have plenty of RAM. It's a pure Java application and can be memory intensive.
- Grab copies of the Java In A Nutshell series from O'Reilly. These are great quick references to the APIs. I'd start by getting Java In A Nutshell, Java Foundation Classes In A Nutshell, and Java Examples In A Nutshell. The first one mentioned contains a very brief tutorial/comparison that is targeted at existing programmers who are learning Java. These a good references to keep nearby no longer how long you've been programming in Java.
- Consider grabbing the book Effective Java Programming Language Guide. Its essentially a series of good practices to put into use, and is a nice book for both new and experienced Java programmers.
- Visit sites like JavaWorld.com.
- Sign up for Sun's Java Developer Connection and their weekly Java e-mail. Start at http://developer.java.sun.com. You'll find loads of tips and articles here.
- Investigate some of the Java publications such as Java Pro, Java Report, and Java Developers Journal. Java Pro seems to include more complete examples.
- Explore the Java newsgroups. If I remember correctly, they are in the hierarchy comp.lang.java.*
- Check out the website www.gamelan.com.
- If you plan to develop Java applications that will be deployed on the Macintosh, check out the Java developer mailing list available from Apple. Here you can find answers to platform specific issues.
These suggestions should, through exploration, get you on a good track and help you to find additional resources. Hope you find them helpful.
- Mike Connick