This book divides roughly as follows:
Chapters 1 and 2 provide a basic introduction to Java concepts and a tutorial to give you a jump start on Java programming.
Chapter 3 discusses tools for developing with Java (the compiler, the interpreter, the JAR file package). It also covers important concepts such as embedding Java code in HTML support and object signing.
Chapters 4 through 8 describe the Java language itself. Chapter 8 covers the language's thread facilities, which should be of particular interest to advanced programmers.
Chapters 11 and 12 cover Java networking, including sockets, URLs, and RMI.
Chapters 13 through 17 cover the Abstract Window Toolkit (AWT), which provides graphics and graphical user interface (GUI) support.
Chapter 18 covers the JavaBeans component architecture.
If you're like us, you don't read books from front to back. If you are really like us, you usually don't read the preface at all. However, on the off chance that you will see this in time, here are a few suggestions.
If you are an experienced programmer who has to learn Java in the next five minutes, you are probably looking for the examples. You might want to start by glancing at the tutorial in Chapter 2. If that doesn't float your boat, you should at least look at the information in Chapter 3, which tells you how to use the compiler and interpreter, and gives you the basics of a standalone Java application. This should get you started.
Chapters 11 and 12 are essential if you are interested in writing advanced networked applications. This is probably the most interesting and important part of Java. Unfortunately, we are still waiting for the major Web browsers to incoporate many of the important 1.1 features and for HotJava to fulfill all of its promise. Until then, you can still write useful standalone applications for the Net. Maybe you'll write the browser we're waiting for.
Chapters 13 through 18 discuss Java's graphics features and component architecture. You will want to read this carefully if you are interested in Java applications for the Web.