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3.1.3 Documentation

Java 3D programming involves general Java programming, high−performance programming, 3D graphics algorithms, 2D graphics programming, UI design, and many other issues. A good reference library or collection of electronic bookmarks will save you a lot of time and help you to avoid some of the pitfalls that have befallen your predecessors.


Though far from exhaustive, the list of references which follows should give you some indication of fruitful areas to start researching.


Java 2 SDK JavaDoc and reference books—Java 2 is a complex technology. If you are going to write good Java 3D code you are going to require the latest Java 2 documentation and some good reference books.

Swing reference book—If you are developing an application that uses Swing (JFC) for the UI you will

want to get a good Swing reference book. These weighty tomes can save you a lot of time during development. A good place to start is Swing by Mathew Robinson and Pavel Vorobiev (
http://www.manning.com/Robinson/index.php
).

Java 3D JavaDoc—Of course you should ensure that you download the latest API documentation for Java 3D.

Sun collateral Java 3D tutorial—The free Java 3D tutorial from Sun makes a good reference for

many introductory topics and for those that like a structured tutorial style book to get started. Find it at
http://www.javasoft.com/products/java−media/3D/collateral/.

J3D.ORG—You should check the J3D.ORG web site (
http://www.j3d.org/
) for FAQs and free

example code. Many of the questions and problems that you run into have been faced and answered by other Java 3D users. Many answers are posted on the J3D.ORG web site or in the interest email list archives. J3D.ORG also contains useful utility code, tutorials, and examples that have been contributed by the active Java 3D community.

Java 3D interest email list—You should subscribe to this excellent forum (
http://archives.java.sun.com/archives/java3d−interest.php) for asking fellow developers questions. Before posting your questions, take the time to search the archives for similar questions and answers.

Java 3D user interface reference—Building Java 3D User Interfaces by Jon Barrilleaux from

Manning Publications will be very useful if you are building a complex 3D user interface. Jon answers many of the questions you will run into as you try to use 3D overlays, and presents solutions for the common UI requirements. For more information, surf to
http://www.manning.com/Barrilleaux/index.php
. There are several other Java 3D books coming into print—check the J3D.ORG web site for the latest information.

3D graphics reference books—If you are new to 3D graphics in general, you may want to pick up a good textbook on the subject. A good reference will cover the general aspects of 3D projections, transformation matrices, clipping, lighting, and rendering. Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice in C by James D. Foley, et al. (Addison−Wesley, 1995) is considered by many to be the bible of computer−generated 3D graphics. Many other useful books are reviewed in appendix B.

OpenGL reference books—There is considerable overlap between Java 3D and OpenGL. A good OpenGL reference will give you a greater understanding for what is going on under the covers and allow you to use Java 3D to the fullest. An OpenGL reference can also be useful when you need to extrapolate from the Java 3D documentation and infer the behavior of more advanced operations. The OpenGL “Red Book” is an excellent reference and is also available online at
http://ask.ii.uib.no/ebt−bin/nph−dweb/dynaweb/SGI_Developer/OpenGL_PG/. Some general OpenGL related links have been compiled at the OpenGL FAQ and Troubleshooting Guide at
http://www.frii.com/~martz/oglfaq/gettingstarted.php
.