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Monday, December 4, 2023

5 Best Java 8 and Functional Programming Books for Beginners and Experienced [UPDATED]

If you follow Java updates, you may know that Java 13 was released, and Java 14 is on the way, but I often receive emails and queries asking about some good books to learn Java 8. Since Java 8 is very different from any other JDK release, in terms of language and API enhancement, you really need an excellent book to learn fundamentals. In short, based upon my 2 years of learning and reading Java 8 books, I can say that Java SE 8 for Really Impatient is hands down the best book to learn Java 8. It covers all the essential things released in JDK 8, not just lambda expression and streams but also new Date and Time API and several other minor enhancement yet crucial features, which often go unnoticed.

It doesn't scare you with complete detail as well and tell you what you need to know as an application developer. It's not going to teach you the fundamentals of functional programming, but it will show you how to use the map and flatMap operations.

Well, that was the short answer, the long answer is you cannot learn everything about Java SE 8 by just reading one book. You have to read a couple of books to master the new Java 8 features like lambda expression and streams.

There is much more to learn about these features than just writing a couple of lines of code. In fact, realizing all the places where you can use the functional style of Java itself takes time, but getting the opinion of multiple authors really helps there.

In this article, I am going to share 2 to 3 such books to learn and master Java 8, btw, if you like online courses, The Complete Java MasterClass is the course I recommend to learn Java. It's the most up-to-date course and covers not only Java 8 but other changes on Java 9, 10, 11, 12, and Java 17.

5 Best Java 8 Books for Beginners and Experienced Developers

It's been more than 5 years since Java SE 8 GA happened, the 18th March 2014, and now I can see Java SE 8 has grown in usages and become the default way to code Java application. Many companies are migrating to Java 8 runtime, others have already instructed developers to code in Java SE 8 way, I mean by using lambdas, stream, and method references.

If you are a senior Java developer with 4 to 5 years of experience in Java, then it's high time you learn and embrace Java 8. I am sure, in the coming days, Java interviews will expect a candidate with good knowledge of Java 8 features.

Anyway, here is my list of some of the best Java 8 books for both beginner and experienced programmers.

1. Modern Java in Action

This is another excellent book to learn Java, particularly the lambda expression and stream API. It is more detailed and comprehensive than Java SE 8 for the Really impatient book. Raoul-Gabriel Urma and the team have done a fantastic job to explains the motivation behind these new language features and how to use them effectively in Java 8.

 Like the previous book, it also covers other Java 8 enhancements features, like Date and Time API and concurrency enhancements, like CompletableFuture, etc. Its old version was even named as Java 8 in Action, and the new version was named Modern Java in action to incorporate changes from newer Java releases like Java 9, Java 10, etc

The bonus part of this book is that it goes extra steps to teach functional programming techniques to Java programmers, which is essential to use the lambda expression in Java 8. Though, if you want to learn Stream API in-depth, I suggest you take a look at the Learn Java Functional Programming with Lambdas & Streams course by Ranga Karnam on Udemy.

best books to learn functional programming in Java

2. Java SE 8 for the Really Impatient

As I said, this is the best book to learn Java 8. It is also my general-purpose Java 8 book. If you have less time and you want to learn all the important things about Java 8, this is the book to refer to. I don't have to remind you about Cay. S. Horstmann's writing skill, one of the best authors in Java and right up there with Joshua Bloch.

I have found both of them highly readable. You won't feel bored, which usually programmers do when they read technical books. It explains lambda expression, streams, functional interface, method references, new Java Date and Time API, and several other small enhancements, like joining Strings, repeatable annotations, etc.

In short, the best book to learn Java hands down. If you want, you can make it even better by joining a course like What's New in Java 8 from Pluralsight, which complements this book by providing some actual learning experience.

best book to learn Java 9 features
Btw, you would need a Pluralsight membership to access this course, which costs around $29 per month or $299 per year. Though it provides access to more than 5000+ high-quality online courses on the latest technology with quizzes, assessments, and projects.

Since, as a programmer, we need to continually learn, I strongly suggest you join a learning portal like Pluralsight. They also have a 10-day free trial period which allows you to watch for 200 minutes of any courses, that way you can get this course for free.

3. Mastering Lambdas: Java Programming in a Multicore World

This is the expert book on lambda expression and Stream API. It doesn't cover all the Java 8 features, e.g., date and time API is not included in this book, but if you really want to understand the motivation behind lambdas and stream, this is the book to read.

I like Maurice Naftalin when I first read his Java Generics and Collection, another expert book on generics and collections. He is also one of the pioneers in Java 8 with his lambda faq website. In short, if you want to understand lambda a stream in detail, this is the book to refer to.

If you need an online course then Lambdas in Java - From Zero to Hero course by Ajay Iyengar on Udemy is a great one to complement this book. This is also one of the most up-to-date course on Lambda expression in Java.

best book to learn Java 8

4. Head First Java: A Brain-Friendly Guide 3rd Edition

Not many people know that but Head First Java, one of the most popular book on Java history now have a new 3rd edition which covers Lambda expression and Stream as well as other Java changes which have happened since the 2nd Edition release. 

This means beginners can now again use this book to learn Java in its updated way, I mean mix of functional and object oriented coding. While the book has all the good thing about head first way of learning they have now also onboarded Trisha Gee, one of Java champion on authors which provides this book new energy and perspective. 

Third edition covers changes from Java SE 8 to Java SE 17 and now authors include Kathy Sierra, Bert Bates, and Trisha Gee. The other content of book is also updated where it make sense to incorporate new way of learning Java. 

Overall, one of the best book to learn Java now, especially for beginners who like to learn slowly and engagingly as there are lot of diagrams and fun chats are given in the book. Though experienced developer may find it bit slow.

Beginners can also combine this book with the The Complete Java Development Bootcamp course by Jose Portilla, Ryan Slim, and Jad Slim from Udemy for better learning. 

That's all about the best books to learn about Java 8. I think these three books are more than enough to have a decent understanding of Java 8 and all the new language features which come along. Everybody has a different approach, though, I like to read just one book from start to end and refer to another book only when they read.

So, when I started learning Java, I started with Java SE 8 for really impatient and then see the other two books on a topic basis. This way, I get the best of all three books without spending too much time.

Let me know what your feedback is on these Java 8 books and feel free to suggest any other book which you find truly great to read.

By the way, if you are preparing for Java SE 19 certifications then you can also use these Java certifications books and courses, they are also a great source of information on Java 8 features but written according to the syllabus of OCAJP 19, or 1Z0-829 exams.

Other Java 8 Tutorials you may like
  • Top 5 Courses to learn New Java Features from JDK 8 to JDK 13 (courses)
  • 10 Example of Joining String in Java 8 (see here)
  • These are the free courses to learn Java 8 and Java 9 (courses)
  • 10 Example of converting a List to Map in Java 8 (tutorial)
  • Top 5 courses to learn Java 8 Programming (courses)
  • 10 Example of forEach() method in Java 8 (example)
  • My favorite free courses to learn Java in-depth (courses)
  • 20 Example of LocalDate and LocalTime in Java 8 (see here)
  • 10 Example of Stream API in Java 8 (see here)
  • 5 Books to Learn Java 8 and Functional Programming (list)
  • How to use in Java 8 (example)
  • How to use Stream.flatMap in Java 8(example)
  • Difference between map() and flatMap() in Java 8 (answer)
  • How to use filter() in Collections with predicate and streams (tutorial)
  • How to convert java.util.Date to java.time.LocalDate in Java 8? (tutorial)
Thanks for reading this article so far. If you like this article, then please share it with your friends and colleagues. If you have any questions doubts or feedback, then please drop a comment, and I'll try to answer your question.

P. S. - If you are looking for an online course to learn only Java 8 features like lambda expression and Stream API, then you can also take a look at the Java 8 Functional Programming: Lambda Expressions Quickly course on Udemy. It's completely free, all you need to do is create a Udemy account and join this course.

1 comment :

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