About Java Structures

The First Edition Java Structures: Data Structures in Java for the Principled Programmer is now available from McGraw-Hill (ISBN 007-289-1793) for use in CS2 courses. Now, after several years of class testing, it is compatible with environments that support the Java Development Toolkit (JDK) 1.2 or 1.1.

Where I'm coming from:

``When I first started working with computers, they were resources used by a privileged (or persistent) few. They were physically large, and logically small. They were cast from iron. The challenge was to make these behemoths solve complex problems quickly.

``Today, computers are everywhere. They are in the office and at home. They speak to us on telephones, they zap our food in the microwave. They make starting cars in New England a possibility. Everyone's using them. What has aided their introduction into society is their diminished size and cost, and increased capability. The challenge is to make these behemoths solve complex problems quickly.

``Thus, while the computer and its applications have changed over time, the challenge remains the same: How can we get the best performance out of the current technology? The design and analysis of data structures lays the fundamental groundwork for a scientific understanding of what computers can do efficiently. The motivations for data structure design work accomplished three decades ago in assembly language at the keypunch are just as familiar to us today as we practice our craft in modern languages on computers on our laps. The focus of this material is the identification and development of relatively abstract principles for structuring data in ways that make programs efficient in terms of their consumption of resources, as well as efficient in terms of `programmability.'

``In the past, my students have encountered this material in Pascal, Modula-2, and, most recently, C++. None of these languages has been ideal, but each has been met with increasing expectation. This text uses The Java Programming Language - `Java' - to structure data. Java is a new and exciting language that has received considerable public attention. At the time of this writing, for example, Java is one of the few tools that can effectively use the Internet as a computing resource. That particular aspect of Java is not touched on greatly in this text. Still, Internet-driven applications in Java will need supporting data structures. This book attempts to provide a fresh and focused approach to the design and implementation of classic structures in a manner that meshes well with existing Java packages. It is hoped that learning this material in Java will improve the way working programmers craft programs, and the way future designers craft languages.''