OCA/OCP 8 Programmer Practice Tests AVAILABLE NOW!

Jeanne and I are really excited to announce that our new book OCA / OCP Practice Tests: Exam 1Z0-808 and Exam 1Z0-809 is now shipping. In fact, we just received our copies today! The book is available in both print and digital formats from Amazon and other major book retailers. In addition, purchasing this book grants the holder access to Sybex’s interactive test bank!

This book serves as worthwhile companion to our previous two books, now available as set, The OCA / OCP Certification Kit. With this book you are really getting two books in one, as Jeanne and I packed over 1000+ questions into this text, covering both the OCA and OCP exams. To better prepare you for test day, we also threw in two simulated OCA/OCP exams. Whether your taking the OCA exam now and thinking about the OCP exam down the road, or taking the OCP exam and need a refresher on the cumulative material, this book has got you covered!

This book covers 100% of all exam objectives in these practice tests, which means you’ll be ready for:

  • Java basics, class design, and data types
  • Using decision and loop constructs
  • Building and using arrays
  • Methods, encapsulation, and inheritance
  • Mastering Java Streams
  • Working with the Date/Time API and Localization
  • Understanding design patterns and principles
  • Writing Lambda expressions and functional interfaces
  • Exceptions and assertions
  • Java File I/O (NIO.2)
  • Concurrency and localization
  • JDBC and database applications

Jeanne and I put a lot of time, energy, and planning into this new book and we really hope our reader enjoy it!

Announcing: Our NEW Java OCA / OCP 8 Practice Test Book!


Jeanne and I are thrilled and excited to announce that we are nearly done writing a brand new book for the OCA / OCP Java 8 Programmer exams!

The new book, OCA / OCP Java SE 8 Programmer Practice Tests, includes over 1000+ hand-crafted and peer reviewed questions. We’ve also created a new permanent Practice Tests OCA / OCP 8 book page on the blog to keep track of updates and news about the new book.

Jeanne and I wanted to say how thankful we are to our all of our readers of our first two books. Without your invaluable feedback and positive reviews, we never would have been offered this opportunity to expand our OCA and OCP subject matter. We promise to make this next book our best yet!

We are expecting to ship the book in March 2017. Stay tuned for additional news about the book!

Where’s your database’s ER Diagram?

I was recently training a new software developer, explaining the joys of three-tier architecture and the importance of the proper black-box encapsulation, when the subject switched to database design and ER diagrams. For those unfamiliar with the subject, entity-relationship diagrams, or ER diagrams for short, are a visual technique for modelling entities, aka tables in relational databases, and the relationships between the entities, such as foreign key constraints, 1-to-many relationships, etc. Below is a sample of such a diagram.

I. The Theory

Like many enterprise technologies, ER diagrams can be a bit of an overkill in single-developer projects, but come in handy as soon as you need to explain your design decisions to a room full of people. Since a software application is only as flexible as its underlying database, ER diagrams help define the initial set of business rules for how people will be able to interact with the system. As a software development practice, they are often encouraged, but in medium to large companies, they may be absolutely required. There are enough tools now to create ER diagrams quickly and easily, many of which will generate SQL database creation statements for a variety of platforms directly.

II. The Practice

Due to tight time constraints and ever-expanding scope creep, I find most developers skip creating or maintaining ER diagrams whenever the opportunity arises. One telling example of this is a developer who creates a diagram, starts building the application, and realizes their initial diagram was completely flawed. Given that they are now behind schedule because they made mistakes in modelling the data, they do not have time to go back an update the model, and their ER diagram becomes a distant memory compared to the final database. Most managers would rather see finished software products than accurate diagrams, although will take both if offered.

ER diagrams are incredibly useful in the early stages of designing a new application, but as an experienced software developer, I spend more time enhancing and maintaining databases than I do creating them from scratch. Furthermore, it can be difficult to create an ER diagram for an existing database, especially if you were not involved in its creation. Even when companies do maintain ER diagrams, they tend to be months, often years, out of date, as it can be difficult to motivate each and every software developer to update the database documentation after making a change.

III. Where’s your database’s ER Diagram?

What about your software application? Is there now or was there ever an ER diagram for your company’s database? Is it 100% accurate to the current production database? I’d like to hear from other developers to find out if people are diligently maintaining ER diagrams, or if it is really a common practice to let them fall by the wayside after a database is established.