Porting Java to small devices: Book Review.

by Davey Winder | posted on 20 April 2002

Porting Java to small devices represents quite a challenge, not least because the footprint is so large as to make entertaining any thoughts of making either J2SE (Java 2 Standard Edition) or J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) redundant. Our Gadget Guy chips away at Paul Tremblett's new book

Davey Winder

Trimming away additional functionality not applicable to a handheld device might seem an attractive option, but in the real world it just isn't going to work. Rather than reduce the footprint of Java by hacking away at existing functionality, the only truly workable solution is to build a smaller version of Java suited to the task in hand. J2ME (Java 2 Micro Edition) is the result,

If you want to develop state-of-the-art wireless applications for handheld devices with J2ME then you need a knowledgeable tutor to guide you in getting the best out of this new technology. That tutor is Paul Tremblett, software developer and contributor to Dr Dobb's Journal who is well known on the Java development technical conference circuit as a respected and entertaining speaker.

In his authoritative and comprehensive work, Tremblett adopts a teaching methodology of ‘analyse and modify' from working examples. As such it is less of a book but more of an interactive learning experience enabling the developer to write their own examples from scratch (or by modifying the included code) using the techniques introduced within each chapter and using the sample code as a useful marker.

The book focuses on MIDP (Mobile Information Device Profile) and MIDlets, applications using the APIs as defined by the MIDP and CLDC (Connected Limited Device Configuration) specifications. Chapter 1 gets straight into the meat and potatoes of wireless development with J2ME by way of a simple code example that enables the reader to concentrate of familiarisation of tools and techniques that will be implemented throughout the remainder of the work. By the end of this first chapter the competent developer will already have gained enough knowledge of both the J2ME Wireless Toolkit and Forte for Java Community Edition to be able to put them to work as the chapters progress. It's a bit like a giant collection of building blocks, once you've mastered MIDP you can add application enhancements using the Java Wireless Toolkit.

Although the ‘instant' claim of the title is a little ambitious, the fact that the book and CD package represents a hefty collection of ready to use code and a heftier dose of expert tuition does make it excellent value for money, and provided you are already familiar with basic Java development programming it shouldn't take you too long to be up and running with J2ME.


Key topics covered include – compiling and executing MIDP code, user interface classes, CommandListener interface, associating icons with MIDlets, user notification from MID, creating simple and multiple tickers, J2ME wireless toolkit and KToolbar, RecordStore class, networking and interfacing with enterprise applications.

The included CD-ROM contains all the source code from the book together with ready to use wireless applications.

Title: Instant Wireless Java with J2ME

Author: Paul Tremblett

Publisher: Osborne

ISBN: 0-07-219175-91

Price: £36.99