Congratulations! By picking up this book you have made the first step in your voyage toward learning Java. Java is a programming language with a long history, starting with its inception in 1991, when it was still named “Oak,” through the first public release (Java 1.0) in 1995 and the newly released Java 8. Its “write once, run anywhere” approach, together with robust language features and numerous libraries led to a spectacular adoption rate. Java is one of the most popular languages in use today, and has been especially successful in enterprise and business environments.

Note, however, that Java is not without its criticism (no programming language is). You might have picked upon the often-repeated criticism that Java is verbose, unsecure, suffering from a slow release cycle, and that it is fading in popularity compared to the interest in new, more exciting languages (Ruby, Erlang, and Haskell, to name a few) by the computer science and programmer communities. The reality, however, tells a different story. Java remains widely taught in schools and universities and is regarded as the language of choice in many organizations. The introduction of Java 7 in 2011 made many tasks simpler, and the availability of many seasoned and stable libraries, tools, and feature-complete IDEs is unmatched by the ecosystem found around other languages. In 2014, Java 8 introduced lambda expressions to streamline code and a reengineered date and time interface that simplifies and ...

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