The Java Tutorial FAQ

Khwarazm and Me answer some of the questions (mostly non-technical) that readers have sent us...

About the Tutorial

What is "the Java Tutorial"?

The Java Tutorial is a programmer's guide for the Java platform. It has two forms:

  1. The online version — This version is a hyperlinked, interactive set of HTML pages available on the World-Wide Web.
  2. The books — The first edition of The Java(tm) Tutorial was published in the summer of 1996. Since then, two additional books and several new editions of existing books have been published.

Where can I get the tutorial?

You can read the tutorial online. From the front page you can choose a trail or search the version of the tutorial. If you prefer to view the tutorial on your own system, you can download the tutorial free of charge.

If you prefer to read paper, you can buy the book.

How often is the online tutorial updated?

Sometimes we update as often as once a month; sometimes months pass between updates. Frequently we'll make minor fixes to individual pages without updating the whole tutorial. To be notified of updates, please subscribe to our e-mail alias.

What do I need to know about the books before I buy one?

Three Java Tutorial books are now available in bookstores. See our book page for contents and online ordering information.

How much does the tutorial cost?

You can view the online version free and you can download it for free.

For book prices, consult the online booksellers. Links to our books' listings are available through our book page.

What version of the Java 2 Platform does the tutorial reflect?

Except where otherwise noted, the online tutorial reflects the API distributed in the Java 2 SDK, v 1.3 and 1.4. As for the books:

What topics are covered by the tutorial?

Check out The Really Big Index for an automatically generated list of the trails in the tutorial and the lessons they contain.

To get the Table of Contents for the books go to one of the following toc.html files:

Some of the online tutorial isn't finished. What's up with that?

The online tutorial is a dynamic growing document. Read more about that in This Is a Work in Progress!.

What awards has the tutorial won?

The second edition of The Java Tutorial won an Achievement Award in the "Single-Issue Publications" category. The award was given on February 27th, 1999, by the Society of Technical Communications (STC).

On February 21st, 1998 the Northern California branch of the Society for Technical Communications (STC) announced their awards. The first edition of The Java Tutorial won a Merit Award in the category "Single-Issue Publications" (better known as retail books).

In August of 1997, JavaWorld Magazine chose the first edition of The Java Tutorial as a runner-up for Best Training Aid.

About Downloading the Tutorial

How do I download the tutorial?

See Download the Tutorial for information. Unfortunately, we cannot send the tutorial to individuals via e-mail.

If for some reason, you cannot download the tutorial from the web, consider buying the book and using the version of the tutorial contained on the CD included with the book.

Note: If you download the tutorial, feel free to make it available locally at your site. Please do not publicly mirror it to the Web!. See the next question and answer to find out why.

May I mirror the tutorial publicly?

Our policy on distribution is that anyone is permitted have a copy of the online tutorial as long as it's visible only within their own institution (university, business, or whatever) and no one is profiting from the tutorial's distribution.

We've taken this strict position because the many tutorial mirrors mean that search engines generally don't find the most up-to-date version of the tutorial. Instead, search engines find mirror sites, which invariably fall behind. We end up getting e-mail about problems that have been corrected in newer versions of the tutorial. Or perhaps worse, we don't get e-mail and the reputation of the tutorial suffers. We allow local copies because we realize that browsing isn't always practical.

When you tell us about a mirror, we send the offender a friendly e-mail asking them to please move their copy of the tutorial to a place that isn't visible from the outside world.

I'm having trouble unarchiving the tutorial. What should I do?

Many readers can solve this problem by installing or updating software to unarchive compressed files (like Zip files). For example, on the Microsoft Windows platform, you can use WinZip to unarchive the Tutorial.

What do I need to know about the online version before I download it?

Here's what you get when you download the tutorial:

You can also download only examples, only the current Swing trail, or archived versions of tutorial trails that have been removed from or completely updated in the current online and downloaded versions of the tutorial.

About Getting the Tutorial in Other Formats

Can I get the tutorial in WinHelp format?

Yes. With our authorization, Franck Allimant has kindly made the tutorial available in WinHelp format. Visit for information and to download.

Can I get a PostScript or PDF version of the tutorial to download?

No. If you want a hard copy of the tutorial, you can buy or borrow the book. To find out why, read the next question and answer.

Why isn't the tutorial available in PostScript or PDF?

We used to offer a PostScript version of the tutorial, but it caused many more problems than it solved. There were problems with fonts, page size in Europe, older versions of PostScript, and so on. PDF format might solve some or all of those problems, but we also got a lot of complaints about the actual document: "it's just a PostScript dump of the HTML," "the links don't make sense on paper," and so on. PDF wouldn't solve those problems. As a result, we no longer provide PostScript, and we won't be providing it or PDF in the future.

About the Tutorial Team

Who are the members of the tutorial team?

Bios and a picture of the core tutorial team appear below. For information about our distinguished contributing authors, read our bios page.

The core tutorial team:
The Tutorial Team The Tutorial Team:
Lisa Friendly (Tech Pubs Manager/Series Editor)
Mary Campione (Tutorial co-author)
Kathy Walrath (Tutorial co-author)
Alison Huml (Tutorial co-author)

Lisa Friendly is the Manager of Technical Publications for the JavaSoft division of Sun Microsystems. She joined the Java project in 1993 as a writer where she worked on the design of the javadoc tool for automatic API generation. In 1995 she inaugurated the Java Series and is the Series Editor.

Mary Campione, no longer working on the tutorial, was a technical writer on the Java Software team at Sun Microsystems, specializing in writing programmer's documentation for emerging software technologies. Among her other books, she is the co-author of PostScript by Example.

Kathy Walrath is a technical writer on the Java Software team at Sun Microsystems, specializing in how-to guides for programmers. Before joining Sun as one of the first writers on the Java project, she wrote extensively about UNIX, Mach, and NextStep.

Alison Huml is a technical writer at Sun Microsystems. Previously, she worked as a technical writer at various startups, including Black Sun Interactive. She specializes in documentation designed for the Web and is currently pursuing a masters degree in Computer Science.

Sharon Zakhour (not pictured above) is the latest addition to the tutorial team. She, too, is a technical writer on the Java Software team at Sun Microsystems, working with the AWT and Swing teams. She has many years experience as a programmer, developer support engineer, and technical writer.

Is there any more information about the authors?

In November of 1999, Mary and Kathy were the guests at a Meet the Author forum at the Java Developer Connection. Here's a transcript. Note: You may be required to register and/or log in to view the transcript. But hey. It's free!

In January of 1998, the Java Web site featured this article about the tutorial and the authors.

Also, you can read interviews with Mary and Kathy at

What's this I hear about the tutorial babies?

Kathy and Mary both gave birth shortly after turning The Java Tutorial over to the publisher. (Oy, what a deadline!) Here are Cosmo and Sophia romping in a pile of tutorials:

Cosmo, Sophia, and The Java Tutorial The Tutorial Babies:
Cosmo, born June 11, 1996, is Kathy's second child.

Sophia, born May 25, 1996, is Mary's first child.

The Java Tutorial, first published in the Summer of 1996.

How do I contact the authors?

You can send us mail using our feedback form Before contacting us, read This Is a Work in Progress!

Khwarazm and Me? Who are they?

Khwarazm and me are FrameMaker's suggested respellings of Kathy and Mary's login names. For a long time, we had no idea what Khwarazm meant, but several readers wrote in to educate us. Khwarazm is the name both of a Central Asian city (now Khiva, Uzbekistan) and of a Persian mathematician born in that city around 780 A.D. The mathematician, Mohammed ibn-Musa al Khwarazm, is credited with introducing the Hindu Arabic decimal number system to the West, and the concept of zero into Arab mathematics. The term algebra is taken from part of the title (al-jabr) of one of his books. The word "algorithm" is derived from his name, which is alternately spelled al-Khwarizmi and al Khawrizm.

Other Questions

Can you help me with my programming problem?

This question is actually a series of similar questions:

Unfortunately we are not staffed to provide answers to these types of questions at this address. Here's our auto-reply. This message lists a bunch of Java developer. resources to help you get an answer to your question.

By the way, we automatically compile (and always run at least once) all of the examples in the tutorial. The examples work for us. If you are having problems with the examples, then you are probably having configuration problems.


If you'd like to get an e-mail when we update the tutorial, please subscribe to our announcements list. It's a low-traffic list that only Tutorial team members can post to. For details, see Get Announcements about The Java Tutorial.

What do other readers think of the tutorial?

You can read comments submitted to by readers. Just follow the relevant link from the book page.

Where's the change history for the tutorial?

Read a complete change history of the tutorial.