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Using the Java API


Wheres the API?


General approach

If you know the name of the package, click it in the upper left panel; or click All Classes Click on the class in the lower left panel Scroll in the right pane to find the summary of the field, method, or constructor you want

Or just read the general description

For more information, click the link in the summary to go to the detailed information

The Packages panel

Choose the package you are interested in Or, choose All Classes Classes in java.lang are automatically imported into every program--you dont have to do it yourself
Old snapshotsbut the format hasnt changed

The Classes panel

This panel shows both classes and interfaces We havent yet talked about interfaces Note that some classes have names similar to primitive types (Boolean, Byte, Character)

The links bar

Overview is where you start out Index is handy for looking up methods Help is the obvious If you dont like frames, you can choose NO FRAMES Deprecated methods are those that have been replaced by better methods and should not be used

The main information area

General description of the class Field summary Constructor summary Method summary Field detail Constructor detail Method detail

In each case, the summary is the first sentence of the detail

Reading the method descriptions I

An example from the String class:

public char charAt(int index)

Returns the character at the specified index

public means accessible from anywhere char is the return type charAt is the name of the method int is the type of parameter expected index is just a suggestive name Example use: char firstChar = myStr.charAt(0);

Reading the method descriptions II

Another example from the String class: public static String valueOf(int i)

Returns the string representation of the int argument.

public means accessible from anywhere static means this is a class method (see use below) String is the return type, and is a hyperlink valueOf is the name of the method int is the type of parameter expected i is just a suggestive name Example use: String numeral = String.valueOf(m / n);

How was this documentation produced?

All Java documentation was produced by the javadoc program from javadoc (or just doc) comments in the source code Your doc comments can be used in the same way to produce professional-looking documentation The Interface menu item in BlueJ does the same basic thing as javadoc Like most things in BlueJ, fancy features have been omitted in the interests of simplicity


Value of the API

Version packages classes methods Java 1.0 8 212 1545 Java 1.1 23 504 3851 Java 1.2 60 1781 15060 Java 1.3 77 2130 17158 Java 1.4 135 2738 ? Java 1.5 and 6 ? ? ? You can only learn a small fraction of these When you learn the kinds of things that are in the API, and learn to find your way around in it, you become a far more effective and efficient programmer A good craftsman knows his/her tools

Where to find the API docs

On the web:

On your own computer (if you downloaded them):



The End

Regarding The Inevitability of eBooks:

Did you ride a horse to work today? I didnt. I'm sure plenty of people swore they would never ride in or operate a horseless carriageand they never did! And then they died.