The author of the classic best practices guide Effective Java now teaches programmers the flipside...how to avoid worst practices!
° Gives an honest assessment of the Java programming language
° Highly enjoyable read that gives any programmer the power to be smarter than the programmer next to them
° Puzzles are challenging and fun, but VERY practical and effective for teaching how to avoid problematic program behavior
"Every programming language has its quirks. This lively book reveals oddities of the Java programming language through entertaining and thought-provoking programming puzzles."
--Guy Steele, Sun Fellow and coauthor of The Java™ Language Specification
"I laughed, I cried, I threw up (my hands in admiration)."
--Tim Peierls, president, Prior Artisans LLC, and member of the JSR 166 Expert Group
How well do you really know Java? Are you a code sleuth? Have you ever spent days chasing a bug caused by a trap or pitfall in Java or its libraries? Do you like brainteasers? Then this is the book for you!
In the tradition of Effective Java™, Bloch and Gafter dive deep into the subtleties of the Java programming language and its core libraries. Illustrated with visually stunning optical illusions, Java™ Puzzlers features 95 diabolical puzzles that educate and entertain. Anyone with a working knowledge of Java will understand the puzzles, but even the most seasoned veteran will find them challenging.
Most of the puzzles take the form of a short program whose behavior isn't what it seems. Can you figure out what it does? Puzzles are grouped loosely according to the features they use, and detailed solutions follow each puzzle. The solutions go well beyond a simple explanation of the program's behavior--they show you how to avoid the underlying traps and pitfalls for good. A handy catalog of traps and pitfalls at the back of the book provides a concise taxonomy for future reference.
Solve these puzzles and you'll never again fall prey to the counterintuitive or obscure behaviors that can fool even the most experienced programmers.
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Puzzle 1: Oddity 5
Puzzle 2: Time for a Change 7
Puzzle 3: Long Division 9
Puzzle 4: It's Elementary 11
Puzzle 5: The Joy of Hex 13
Puzzle 6: Multicast 15
Puzzle 7: Swap Meat 17
Puzzle 8: Dos Equis 19
Puzzle 9: Tweedledum 21
Puzzle 10: Tweedledee 23
Puzzle 11: The Last Laugh 25
Puzzle 12: ABC 27
Puzzle 13: Animal Farm 29
Puzzle 14: Escape Rout 31
Puzzle 15: Hello Whirled 33
Puzzle 16: Line Printer 35
Puzzle 17: Huh? 37
Puzzle 18: String Cheese 39
Puzzle 19: Classy Fire 41
Puzzle 20: What's My Class? 43
Puzzle 21: What's My Class, Take 2 45
Puzzle 22: Dupe of URL 47
Puzzle 23: No Pain, No Gain 49
Puzzle 24: A Big Delight in Every Byte 53
Puzzle 25: Inclement Increment 55
Puzzle 26: In the Loop 57
Puzzle 27: Shifty i's 59
Puzzle 28: Looper 61
Puzzle 29: Bride of Looper 63
Puzzle 30: Son of Looper 65
Puzzle 31: Ghost of Looper 67
Puzzle 32: Curse of Looper 69
Puzzle 33: Looper Meets the Wolfman 71
Puzzle 34: Down for the Count 73
Puzzle 35: Minute by Minute 75
Puzzle 36: Indecision 77
Puzzle 37: Exceptionally Arcane 79
Puzzle 38: The Unwelcome Guest 81
Puzzle 39: Hello, Goodbye 83
Puzzle 40: The Reluctant Constructor 85
Puzzle 41: Field and Stream 87
Puzzle 42: Thrown for a Loop 89
Puzzle 43: Exceptionally Unsafe 93
Puzzle 44: Cutting Class 97
Puzzle 45: Exhausting Workout 101
Puzzle 46: The Case of the Confusing Constructor 105
Puzzle 47: Well, Dog My Cats! 107
Puzzle 48: All I Get Is Static 109
Puzzle 49: Larger Than Life 111
Puzzle 50: Not Your Type 113
Puzzle 51: What's the Point? 115
Puzzle 52: Sum Fun 119
Puzzle 53: Do Your Thing 123
Puzzle 54: Null and Void 125
Puzzle 55: Creationism 127
Puzzle 56: Big Problem 131
Puzzle 57: What's in a Name? 133
Puzzle 58: Making a Hash of It 137
Puzzle 59: What's the Difference? 139
Puzzle 60: One-Liners 141
Puzzle 61: The Dating Game 143
Puzzle 62: The Name Game 145
Puzzle 63: More of the Same 147
Puzzle 64: The Mod Squad 149
Puzzle 65: A Strange Saga of a Suspicious Sort 152
Puzzle 66: A Private Matter 157
Puzzle 67: All Strung Out 161
Puzzle 68: Shades of Gray 163
Puzzle 69: Fade to Black 165
Puzzle 70: Package Deal 167
Puzzle 71: Import Duty 169
Puzzle 72: Final Jeopardy 171
Puzzle 73: Your Privates Are Showing 173
Puzzle 74: Identity Crisis 175
Puzzle 75: Heads or Tails? 177
Puzzle 76: Ping Pong 183
Puzzle 77: The Lock Mess Monster 185
Puzzle 78: Reflection Infection 189
Puzzle 79: It's a Dog's Life 193
Puzzle 80: Further Reflection 195
Puzzle 81: Charred Beyond Recognition 197
Puzzle 82: Beer Blast 199
Puzzle 83: Dyslexic Monotheism 201
Puzzle 84: Rudely Interrupted 203
Puzzle 85: Lazy Initialization 205
Puzzle 86: Poison-Paren Litter 209
Puzzle 87: Strained Relations 211
Puzzle 88: Raw Deal 213
Puzzle 89: Generic Drugs 217
Puzzle 90: It's Absurd, It's a Pain, It's Superclass! 221
Puzzle 91: Serial Killer 224
Puzzle 92: Twisted Pair 229
Puzzle 93: Class Warfare 231
Puzzle 94: Lost in the Shuffle 233
Puzzle 95: Just Desserts 237
We gave the first "Java Puzzlers" talk at the Oracle Open World conference in San Francisco in November 2001. To add a bit of pizazz, we introduced ourselves as "Click and Hack, the Type-it Brothers" and stole a bunch of jokes from Tom and Ray Magliozzi of Car Talk fame. The presentation was voted best-in-show, and probably would have been even if we hadn't voted for ourselves. We knew we were on to something.
Dressed in spiffy blue mechanic's overalls emblazoned with the "cup and steam" Java logo, we recycled the Oracle talk at JavaOne 2002 to rave reviews--at least from our friends. In the years that followed, we came up with three more "Java Puzzlers" talks and presented them at countless conferences, corporations, and colleges in cities around the globe, from Oslo to Tokyo. The talks were almost universally well liked, and we got very little fruit thrown at us. In the March 2003 issue of Linux Magazine, we published an article consisting entirely of Java puzzles and received almost no hate mail. This book contains nearly all the puzzles from our talks and articles and many, many more.
Although this book draws attention to the traps and pitfalls of the Java platform, we do not mean to denigrate it in any way. It is because we love the Java platform that we've devoted nearly a decade of our professional lives to it. Every platform with enough power to do real work has some problems, and Java has far fewer than most. The better you understand the problems, the less likely you are to get hurt by them, and that's where this book comes in.
Most of the puzzles in the book focus on short programs that appear to do one thing but actually do something else. That's why we've chosen to decorate the book with optical illusions--drawings that appear to be one thing but are actually another. Also, you can stare at them while you're trying to figure out what in the world the programs do.
Above all, we wanted this book to be fun. We sincerely hope that you enjoy solving the puzzles as much as we enjoyed writing them and that you learn as much from them as we did.
And by all means, send us your puzzlers! If you have a puzzle that you think belongs in a future edition of this book, write it on the back of a $20 bill and send it to us, or e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org. If we use your puzzle, we'll give you credit.
Last but not least, don't code like my brother.
San Jose, California
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