Recommended Java and Web Programming Books
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Following are my top choices for Java and Web programming books, based on my experience doing professional Java development and teaching Java and Web programming. There is also a list of Java books that Sun has put out, the Java Series, written by those creating the technology, including many online books, and the Java Developer Connection Bookshelf. Also, check out the FAQs and tutorials section section for tutorials.

Categories of Books

Java Books: Gentle Tutorials Java Books: Servlets and EJB
Java Books: Fast-Starting Tutorials Java Books: Jini
Java Reference Books JavaBeans Books
Java Books: Threads Java Books: Swing, JFC, and Java 1.2
Java and WWW Security Books
Java Books: Network Programming HTML Books
Java Books: JDBC JavaScript Books
CORBA and RMI Books Java Books: Data Structures and CS
Books on Java and XML JSP and Servlet Books

There are a huge number of Java programming books on the market. This presents potential Java book readers with two problems. First, the books are in many different categories; someone looking for introductory Java tutorials wants totally different books than someone who knows Java 1.1 already and wants books to get them going with Swing as quickly as possible. The second problem is that (IMHO) the vast majority of Java books are, well, bad. "Teach Yourself Java 1.2 (Written in 21 Days)" or "Java by Dummies" are not the books an experienced Java programmer or or a Java beginner want, but seem to be the books that take up a large percentage of the Java books section at many retail book stores.

My goal here is twofold: categorize the Java books by topic so that JDBC books are not mixed into the same list as intro Java programming books, and give specific recommendations of books that I personally own and think are good, based on my professional experience doing research and development with Java, and my experience teaching Java at Johns Hopkins and in various industry short courses on Java.

Finally, since HTML and JavaScript books are somewhat related, and since I have a large number of those books on my shelf, I included my favorites there as well.

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Java Books: Gentle Tutorials

Even within the category of "gentle" introductory Java books, there is still quite a range in the level of presentation. So I've broken the books into two general areas: those books appropriate for first-time programmers and those books primarily aimed at people with at least light programming experience. Books in the first category concentrate on Java language fundamentals (loops, conditionals, object-oriented programming, programming strategy), while books in the second category decrease the discussion of these topics in order to cover more advanced Java capabilities like graphics, network programming, and threads.

Java Books for the First-Time Programmer

Java Books: Cover

Java Books Assuming Some Programming Background

Java Books: Cover
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Java Books: Fast-Starting Tutorials

These books are absolutely not aimed at programming beginners; the goal is to get relatively experienced programmers who do not know Java up to speed in Java as quickly as possible, and to explain a large proportion of the Java programming features that professional developers would use. Java Books: Cover
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Java Books: Reference Texts

These books are not Java tutorials, but rather detailed desktop Java API references for people already experienced with Java programming. Java Books: Cover
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Java Books: Swing, JFC, and Java 1.2

I've gotten a huge stack of books on Swing programming in the last several months, most of them bad. The five books of the bunch I think are pretty good, in rough order of preference, are: Java Books: Cover
None of these books really cover the full Java Foundation Classes, just the Swing GUI controls. However, there are several good sources of info on Java2D: Java Books: Cover
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Java Books: Network Programming

These are books that deal primarily with socket-oriented network programming in Java. Java Books: Cover
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Java Books: Java DataBase Connectivity (JDBC)

These books are aimed at relatively experienced Java programmers who want to connect to databases from their Java programs. Java Books: Cover
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Java Books: CORBA and RMI

These books focus on distributed objects in Java, rather than raw socket programming. Java Books: Cover
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Java Books: Servlets, JSP, Struts, Etc.

Please see the separate list of JSP and servlet books. Also see the free online edition of the first edition of Core Servlets and JSP, free servlet, JSP, Struts, and JSF training materials, and training courses on servlets, JSP, Struts, and JSF.
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Java Books: Jini

Jini is the hot new "network anything, anytime" Java technology, so expect lots more books in this category soon. In the meantime, these two books are a good place to start. Java Books: Cover
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Java Books: JavaBeans

I have three books specifically on JavaBeans, and the clearly superior book of the three is Java Books: Cover However, two general Java books also have excellent chapters on JavaBeans: The Java Tutorial Continued: The Rest of the JDK (© 1998, ISBN: 0201485583) and Core Java Volume II: Advanced Features (© 2001, ISBN: 0130927384).
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Java Books: Threads

These books are aimed at experienced Java programmers who want to do advanced multi-threaded applications. Java Books: Cover
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Java and WWW Security Books

Note that only the first two books focus on Java; the rest are general WWW security books. Java Books: Cover
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HTML Books

My three favorite HTML books, in order of preference, are: Java Books: Cover
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JavaScript Books

I have a bunch of JavaScript books, but the only ones I like are: Java Books: Cover
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Data Structures and Undergraduate Computer Science Texts using Java

Undoubtedly there are plenty more of these types of books that I haven't seen. Unlike most of the other book areas, I haven't been able to keep with the various Java books in this category. But these are the best of the books I've personally seen. Java Books: Cover
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Books on Java and XML

Well, books (plural) is an exaggeration. There is one book (singular) on Java and XML that stands head and shoulders above all the other books: Java Books: Cover
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