The 'Complete Compiler Edition' of the Java 1.2 book is a boxed set comprising the book itself and a CD containing a copy of Borland's JBuilder 2 standard edition. The book itself is available for twenty pounds less and the Java Development Kit (JDK) free of charge over the Internet (www.java.sun.com). The Complete Compiler Edition is, therefore, of questionable value, unless you particularly want the Borland offering. None of the examples used in the book use JBuilder; rather the use of the JDK is assumed.
The Java 2 Platform book includes a CD containing, amongst other things, the JDK version 1.2 and a copy of the Publisher Edition of JBuilder.
I was curious to compare the Java 1.2 and Java 2 platform books as the Java 2 platform incorporates version 1.2 of the JDK. It proved to be an easy comparison as the books are essentially identical, except in that the Java 2 Platform book includes a 'bonus week' that expands on some of the themes only touched upon in Java 1.2 book. The only omission from the Java 2 Platform book is the Java Language Summary - a surprising omission from the Professional Reference Edition of the book!
In my opinion removing the excessive American humour, adding exercises and review questions and expanding the reference section would significantly improve the books. Nonetheless they provide a readable and comprehensive teach-yourself guide aimed squarely at the novice programmer.