In late 1995, the Java programming language buret onto the Internet scene and gained instant celebrity status. The promise of Java technology was that it would become the universal glue that connects users with information, whether that information comes from web servers, databases, information providers, or any other imaginable source. Indeed, Java is in a unique position to fulfill this promise. It is an extremely solidly engineered language that has gained acceptance by all major vendors, except for Microsoft. Its built-in security and safety features are reassuring both to programmers and to the users of Java programs. Java even has built-in support that makes advanced programming tasks, such as network programming, database connectivity, and multithreading, straightforward.
Since 1995, Sun Microsystems has released seven major revisions of the Java Development Kit. Over the course of the last eleven years, the Application Programming Interface (API) has grown from about 200 to over 3,000 classes. The API now spans such diverse areas as user interface constaiction, database management, internationalization, security, and XML processing.
The book you have in your hands is the first volume of the eighth edition of Core Java™. With the publishing of each edition, the book followed the release of the Java Development Kit as quickly as possible, and each time, we rewrote the book to take advantage of the newest Java features. This edition has been updated to reflect the features of Java Standard Edition (SE) 6.