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Inside the Java Virtual Machine
by Bill Venners


Order Inside the JVM

The second edition of Bill Venners' Inside the Java Virtual Machine, winner of a 1998 Java Report Writers Choice Award, is now available in bookstores. Inside the Java Virtual Machine explains Java's architecture and internals, and several Java APIs closely tied to the virtual machine, to Java programmers. Reading this book will help you gain a deeper understanding of Java technology, and in the process, help you become more effective at Java programming. This new edition is fully revised for Java 2, and includes much new material on a variety of JVM topics. You can order the book from Amazon by clicking on the image to the right.

An Overview of the Book

Inside the Java Virtual Machine describes the Java virtual machine, the abstract computer on which all Java programs run, and several Java APIs closely related to the virtual machine. Through a combination of tutorial explanations, working examples, reference material, and applets that interactively illustrate the concepts presented in the text, this book provides an in-depth, technical survey of Java as a technology.

Chapters 1 through 4 (Part I of the book) give an overview of Java's architecture, including the motivations behind--and the implications of--Java's architectural design. These chapters show how the Java virtual machine relates to the other components of Java's architecture: the class file, API, and language. If you want a basic understanding of Java as a technology, consult these chapters. Here are some specific points of interest from this portion of the book:

Chapters 5 through 20 (Part II of the book) give an in-depth technical description of the inner workings of the Java Virtual Machine. These chapters will help you understand how Java programs actually work. All the material in Part II is presented in a tutorial manner, with lots of examples. Here are some specific points of interest from this portion of the book:

In addition to being a tutorial on the Java class file, Chapter 6, "The Java Class File," serves as a complete reference of the class file format. Similarly, Chapters 10 through 20 form a tutorial of the Java virtual machine's instruction set, and Appendices A through C serve as a complete reference of the instruction set. If you need to look something up, check out these chapters and the appendices.

For most of the book's chapters, material associated with the chapter--such as example code or simulation applets--appears on the CD-ROM.

The applets directory of the CD-ROM contains an mini-web site, called the "Interactive Illustrations," that includes 15 Java applets that illustrate the concepts presented in the text. These "interactive illustrations" form an integral part of the book. Eleven of the applets simulate the Java virtual machine executing bytecodes. The other applets illustrate garbage collection, two's-complement and IEEE 754 floating point numbers, and the loading of class files. The applets can be viewed on any platform by any Java-capable browser. The source code for the simulation applets is also included on the CD-ROM.

The copyright notice accompanying the HTML, .java, and .class files for the Interactive Illustrations Web Site enables you to post the web site on any network, including the internet, providing you adhere to a few simple rules. For example, you must post the web site in its entirety, you can't make any changes to it, and you can't charge people to look at it.

All the example source code shown in the book appears on the CD-ROM in both source and compiled (class files) form. If some example code in the text strikes you as interesting (or dubious), you can try it out for yourself.

Most of the example code is illustrative and not likely to be of much practical use besides helping you to understand Java. Nevertheless, you are free to cut and paste from the example code, use it in your own programs, and distribute it in binary (such as Java class file) form.

To help you find more information and keep abreast of changes, the author maintains a "
Resources Page" with links to further reading about the material presented in the book.

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