March 25, 2002
Java 2 Micro Edition: It's Not Just Java Made Smaller. O'Reilly Releases J2ME in a Nutshell
Sebastopol, CA--Java's first incarnation was Oak, a programming
language developed by Sun Microsystems in the early 1990s as part of a
research project to build consumer electronic products. Kim Topley,
author of J2ME
in a Nutshell (O'Reilly, US $29.95) explains that the
first prototype for Oak was a portable home controller called Star7: a
small handheld device with an LCD touchscreen and built-in wireless
networking and infrared communications. It could be used as a remote
control for a television or VCR and had some of the same functions that
are now associated for PDAs, such as appointment scheduling. Although
the market for this device didn't develop, and no Oak-based devices
were ever sold to consumers, Oak's life wasn't over. It was renamed
Java and went on to enjoy fame as the ubiquitous write once, run
anywhere language we know today.
"Ironically," Topley tells us, "while Sun was developing Java for the
Internet and commercial programming, demand began to grow for Java on
smaller devices and even on smart cards, thus returning Java to its
roots." But unlike the desktop and server worlds served by other
flavors of Java, the micro-world includes such a wide range of devices
that it's not possible to create a single software to serve them all.
Java 2 Micro Edition (J2ME) is a family of specifications that defines
compact versions of the Java 2 platform that can be used to develop
Java applications for cell phones, PDAs, pagers, set-top boxes and
other resource-constrained devices. It is enough like Java to be
familiar to Java programmers, and different enough to challenge them.
"J2ME is intended to be a mass-market technology," explains Topley.
"Cell phone and PDA manufacturers have committed to J2ME and are
including it in their products. Therefore, a large number of these
devices will be shipped with in-built Java support. Cell phone
manufacturers have been suggesting that they will sell many million
such devices in 2002. This is clearly a very large market opportunity
for developers and for the network providers themselves."
"When I started looking at J2ME," Topley adds, "it seemed to me that it
was sufficiently different from the standard Java platform to be
interesting to experienced Java developers, while still being Java and
therefore a comfortable and familiar environment to work in. Although
J2ME shares some of the core Java platform, it needs its own reference
book because some of the shared packages and classes are different from
the standard Java platforms, while others are exclusive to J2ME. It is,
therefore, not sufficient to simply read 'Java in a Nutshell' to work
with this platform. The intent of this book is to give existing Java
developers the reference material that they need for J2ME together with
a tutorial that leverages their existing knowledge and teaches them
what is different about J2ME without boring them with details they
J2ME in a Nutshell follows the familiar format of the bestselling
Java in a Nutshell, including the trusted classic-style quick
reference material for all the classes in the various J2ME packages.
Its solid introduction to J2ME covers the essential APIs for different
types of devices and deployments, the profiles, and the Java virtual
machine functions that support those APIs. This book offers Java
developers the reference material they'll need for J2ME, together with
a tutorial that leverages their existing knowledge of Java, while
teaching what is different about the Micro Edition.
"J2ME is aimed at what is hoped will be a very large market and
therefore should make Java very visible outside the technical
community," says Topley. "My book covers this topic using the proven
and popular Nutshell format, which is very well known to Java
developers. I want to emphasize that J2ME in a Nutshell uses the same
style as Java in a Nutshell and is in fact, the Java in a Nutshell
for small platforms."
This book is part of a multi-volume set of quick references that every
Java programmer needs. It is a companion to Java in a Nutshell and
Java Foundation Classes in a Nutshell, which cover the core,
graphics, printing, and GUI APIs of the standard Java 2 platform. A
third volume, Java Enterprise in a Nutshell, focuses on the Java
Enterprise APIs and is of interest to programmers working on
server-side or enterprise Java applications.
J2ME in a Nutshell
By Kim Topley
ISBN 0-596-00253-X, 450 pages, $29.95 (US), $46.95 (CAN)
O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.
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