Due for release in quarter 4 of 2001, version 1.4 of the Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition, is set to be the biggest upgrade to the functionality of the basic Java platform since the release of Java 2 over two years ago. The latest version, until recently known by the codename Merlin, represents a km commitment by Sun and the Java community to turn Java into a viable client platform, after several years of concentrating on the server. Early Adopter J2SE 1.4 assess the significance of the changes to the Java 2 platform that Merlin introduces. We will be looking at functions that have been added or modified, and see how they impact on the Java application developer's life. Throughout this book, we will use the public beta version of the J2SE 1.4 SDK to demonstrate the platform's new capabilities. Who is this book for ? This book is for professional Java developers who are keen the keep up to date with the new features and functionality offered by the latest version of the J2SE. This is done via discussions and illustrations of the new features, together with practical code examples with plenty of opportunities for experimentation and exploration. This methodology will make the changes and upgrades to the latest version of the Java 2 Platform easily apparent and understandable. This book was written using the Sun J2SDK 1.4.Ob2 release of the J2SE 1.4 platform. While we cant guarantee that the final version will be identical, you can be sure that all the concepts, examples, and explanations will still be valid for the final 1.4.0 release, scheduled for late quarter 4 of 2001.