Java News from Tuesday, January 13, 2009

IBM's developerWorks has published my latest article, Java's new math, Part 2: Floating point numbers. Sometimes you're so familiar with a class you stop paying attention to it. If you could write the documentation for java.lang.Foo, and Eclipse will helpfully autocomplete the functions for you, why would you ever need to read its Javadoc? Such was my experience with java.lang.Math, a class I thought I knew really, really well. Imagine my surprise, then, when I recently happened to be reading its Javadoc for possibly the first time in half a decade and realized that the class had almost doubled in size with 20 new methods I'd never heard of. Obviously it was time to take another look.

Java 5 added 10 new methods to java.lang.Math and Java 6 added another 10. Part 2 focuses on the functions that make sense only when you realize that they're designed for operating on floating-point numbers instead of abstract real numbers.