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What's on Your Java Learning List?

11 replies on 1 page. Most recent reply: Mar 22, 2007 10:53 PM by Michael Easter

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Frank Sommers

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Nickname: fsommers
Registered: Jan, 2002

What's on Your Java Learning List? (View in Weblogs)
Posted: Mar 9, 2007 7:01 PM
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Summary
Since we have limited time each day to learn new languages, language features, and APIs, we must decide where to focus our learning efforts.
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When first approaching a new language, the learning path is fairly obvious. Climbing up the learning path, most of us start to feel comfortable with a language when can develop in it the kinds of applications we're interested in. But it is just at that point that many of us reach a plateau: while we maintain a desire to learn more, we also invest less and less time mastering new language features and techniques.

That should make perfect sense when placed in the context of motivation. We typically learn a new language (spoken or artificial) because we anticipate some payoff from the invested time and effort. The best learning experiences are those that offer some payoff early in the process, such as the joy observing "Hello, World!" appear on the console for the first time.

New JSRs, new language features slated for each subsequent JDK release, and the multitude of open-source projects that in some way relate to our work, all vie for our desire to learn and use those new technologies. In addition, for each of the past few years, interest in languages other than Java has been on the rise in the Java community.

Given that the time we can devote to that learning is limited, where do you think the biggest payoffs in learning about new Java features lie? Or do you believe that mastering other languages can yield a bigger payoff at the present than more learning about Java could? To put it in another way: What's on your Java (or non-Java) learning list?


Peter Booth

Posts: 62
Nickname: alohashirt
Registered: Aug, 2004

Re: What's on Your Java Learning List? Posted: Mar 10, 2007 2:51 PM
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I think that even when the examples were manufactured it was helpful for me to force myself to use a State pattern or Strategy pattern in a program just to see how it worked. What was much more useful, however, was to have a copy of Michael Feather's "Working effectively with legacy code" by my side when attempting to make a monolithic application testable. Thats probabvly the most useful Refactoring book I have seen, because it breaks down the work into atomic, realistic fragments and illustrates how to get from A to E when it simply doesn't seem possible.
Kerievsky's "Refactoring to Patterns" is also pretty useful.

I have found this more valuable than learning ne wlanguage features.

Shivkumar CM

Posts: 4
Nickname: coderboy
Registered: Dec, 2005

Re: What's on Your Java Learning List? Posted: Mar 13, 2007 2:17 PM
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I believe Java annotations are one of the most powerful features introduced. The number of applications of annotations are far from limited and it is the onus of the community to tap its full power. From being handy for developing neat frameworks for development and customization of enterprise applications to being applied in design pattern mining experiments, annotations can serve a wide variety of purposes. So we should be pro-active in mastering this feature so as to inventing more applications.

The second on the list is learning to make effective and neat use of functional programming features. One can pick a language like Scala to begin with. As most Java developers are not well versed with functional patterns, it is high time we master this powerful feature.

Apart from this, I believe we should try and dig into the java.lang.XML, ie XML literals in Java. We as developers, who have felt the pain of writing large pieces of code for even simple XML operations, are in a better position to give good suggestions and feedback in order to arrive at a very clean implementation.

Michael Campbell

Posts: 5
Nickname: mcampbell
Registered: Sep, 2006

Re: What's on Your Java Learning List? Posted: Mar 14, 2007 6:08 PM
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While your question seems a little more esoteric than your subject might imply, my list contains:

Investigation of:
- Stripes
- ZK
- Guice
- JRuby
- Possibly Grails
- Scala

More thorough understandings of:
- Spring 2
- Hibernate
- Possibly Seam

James Watson

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Nickname: watson
Registered: Sep, 2005

Re: What's on Your Java Learning List? Posted: Mar 15, 2007 10:10 AM
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> Apart from this, I believe we should try and dig into the
> java.lang.XML, ie XML literals in Java. We as developers,
> who have felt the pain of writing large pieces of code for
> even simple XML operations, are in a better position to
> give good suggestions and feedback in order to arrive at a
> very clean implementation.

I think XML literals are one of the worst ideas to come about in recent times. If the first version of JAXB hadn't been such a misguided debacle we probably wouldn't be in this situation. XML literals is just a step towards the COBOL-ization of Java.

Eirik Maus

Posts: 15
Nickname: eirikma
Registered: Oct, 2005

Re: What's on Your Java Learning List? Posted: Mar 16, 2007 3:54 PM
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The Scala language (for JVM/java) and the Lift web framework is on top of my learning list. One day I'll make a good adapter for Hibernate in scala. That is, if any adaptation is necessary at all.

Sanesh Fernando

Posts: 1
Nickname: sanesh
Registered: Mar, 2007

Re: What's on Your Java Learning List? Posted: Mar 17, 2007 6:45 AM
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Recently I found the best way of Learning Java and it's endless features in a great and fun way.

Go check the site www.JavaBlackBelt.com

This is a Free Certification site where Certification comes in the form of getting Belts when you score points for various exams in Java.

What I do is like this. I do an exam and check where I have gone wrong and read up more about the topics that i have gone wrong and master areas that i am weak. So I repeat this till i pass the exam.

whatever

Posts: 1
Nickname: what
Registered: Nov, 2004

Re: What's on Your Java Learning List? Posted: Mar 20, 2007 5:05 AM
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Java reading-
any book covering 6.0 (and 5.0) new features as I naturally encounter a need to use them.
Java 2D.
New Concurrency libs.
XML and Java.
Performance tuning.
Puzzlers Traps and Pitfalls.
NIO.

Meta-Java activities with known Big Payoff
Patterns books.
Manning's IntelliJ book (be a Power User of your IDE)
Search for OS projects relevant to my programming.

Non-Java learning
Linear algebra
Information Retrieval (IR)
Codd's Relational Model
Algorithms
Graphing
Semantic Web

Derek Chen-Becker

Posts: 3
Nickname: dcbdenver
Registered: Sep, 2005

Re: What's on Your Java Learning List? Posted: Mar 20, 2007 9:23 AM
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Right now most of my "learning time" is taken up with exploring Scala. It's a very interesting language that runs on the VM and it's under heavy development. Definitely worth a look.

Derek

Todd Blanchard

Posts: 316
Nickname: tblanchard
Registered: May, 2003

Re: What's on Your Java Learning List? Posted: Mar 20, 2007 1:00 PM
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I refuse to sink any more resources into that boring little dead end.

Paul Reiners

Posts: 8
Nickname: reiners
Registered: Mar, 2003

Re: What's on Your Java Learning List? Posted: Mar 20, 2007 1:58 PM
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Python, or, maybe, Mathematica.

I think it's time to move on from Java.

Michael Easter

Posts: 3
Nickname: codetojoy
Registered: Mar, 2007

Re: What's on Your Java Learning List? Posted: Mar 22, 2007 10:53 PM
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There seems to be a convergence of thought recently that the JVM is distinct from Java, and that the _JVM_ may be the home for new innovation. Cases in point: Groovy and JRuby.

I have only started working with Groovy but it has been fruitful due to the synergy between its dynamic typing and the friendly confines of the Java-syntax and especially libraries.

IMHO, this is the space that pays off re: limited learning resources. It is a new, energetic effort that leverages what we already know. In fact, as a troubleshooting tool, Groovy has paid off in spades for me already.

I'll take this innovation, or even new frameworks, over the diminishing returns of esoteric language features. e.g. Generics are hideous and the debate doesn't interest me. Similarly, a debate on the approach to closures in Java is truly academic when I can be _writing_ closures in another language -- esp. one where they seem to "just fit".

ps. Honourable mentions to Hadoop and the Google Web Toolkit, in terms of wishing I had 34 hours in a day.

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