Java text / reference book?

D

David Mathog

I've been programming a long time in Fortran, C, Perl, and others, but
not (yet) in Java. My daughter will be taking her first programming
course this semester in High School. I'm wondering what would be a good
book to have on hand. It should be one she can learn basic programming
concepts from and one I could use later as a reference if I ever need to
work in Java. [Note, they did not issue a textbook for her class at
registration, perhaps they'll specify one when the course begins next week.]

Poking around Amazon reviews and introductory courses on the web turned up

Introduction to Java Programming: Comprehensive Version 6/E

by Daniel Liang.

http://www.cs.armstrong.edu/liang/intro6e/index.html

It looks like the early chapters of that are well targeted towards
fledgling programmers, and the book as a whole is comprehensive enough
to serve as a reference. Also there is a lot of extra material
available through that web page.

Would this book suit our needs, or would another book be better?

Thanks,

David Mathog
 
P

Patricia Shanahan

David said:
I've been programming a long time in Fortran, C, Perl, and others, but
not (yet) in Java. My daughter will be taking her first programming
course this semester in High School. I'm wondering what would be a good
book to have on hand. It should be one she can learn basic programming
concepts from and one I could use later as a reference if I ever need to
work in Java. [Note, they did not issue a textbook for her class at
registration, perhaps they'll specify one when the course begins next
week.]

Poking around Amazon reviews and introductory courses on the web turned up

Introduction to Java Programming: Comprehensive Version 6/E

by Daniel Liang.

http://www.cs.armstrong.edu/liang/intro6e/index.html

It looks like the early chapters of that are well targeted towards
fledgling programmers, and the book as a whole is comprehensive enough
to serve as a reference. Also there is a lot of extra material
available through that web page.

Would this book suit our needs, or would another book be better?

I would suggestion partitioning your requirements into introduction and
reference. Anything that tries to do both is liable to do neither very well.

For the Java library interfaces, there is no substitute for the API
documentation as a reference. It is available on-line and also can be
downloaded. It is cross-linked, so that when you are reading about one
class the documentation for e.g. a parameter type is a click away. See
http://java.sun.com/j2se/1.5.0/docs/api/index.html (but pick the version
she is using).

You may also find the Java Language Specification useful as a reference.
It does assume ability to read and understand formal grammars.

The book should focus on explaining and teaching, and discuss the API in
terms of some of the important idioms for doing basic tasks, without
trying to be a reference.

Patricia
 
R

Roedy Green

Would this book suit our needs, or would another book be better?

If you possibly can, go to a brick and mortar bookstore and browse the
books.

Watch out for:

1.fluff, material you can get elsewhere such as the Javadoc for Swing.

2. stuff that is too obvious.

3. stuff obviously way over your head. It should be a stretch, but
not a leap.

Look for:

1. Lots of example code, especially complete programs you can run and
tinker with. Sometimes they come on a CD.

2. a good index. Try looking up a few things of current interest.

3. chapter summaries.

My whole website is peppered with mini reviews of Java books.
see http://mindprod.com/jgloss/books.html for hints on how to find
relevant ones.
 
P

Patricia Shanahan

Roedy said:
If you possibly can, go to a brick and mortar bookstore and browse the
books.

Watch out for:

1.fluff, material you can get elsewhere such as the Javadoc for Swing.

2. stuff that is too obvious.

3. stuff obviously way over your head. It should be a stretch, but
not a leap.

Look for:

1. Lots of example code, especially complete programs you can run and
tinker with. Sometimes they come on a CD.

2. a good index. Try looking up a few things of current interest.

3. chapter summaries.

My whole website is peppered with mini reviews of Java books.
see http://mindprod.com/jgloss/books.html for hints on how to find
relevant ones.

One my brick and mortar bookstore tests for a book is to read the first
few and the last few pages. The first few pages should assume only
things I already know, and be easy to read. The last few pages should
assume significantly more knowledge than I have, and be somewhere
between difficult and impossible to read.

This test eliminates both books that are completely beyond me, and books
that teach nothing I don't already know.

Patricia
 
C

cHris.z

Just an advice, think about Thinking in Java fourth edition.
It can be a good guide to Java programming, also, an excellent
reference book.
 
L

Lew

cHris.z said:
Just an advice, think about Thinking in Java fourth edition.
It can be a good guide to Java programming, also, an excellent
reference book.

And the third edition is available for free online:
<http://www.mindview.net/Books/TIJ/>

It's not really a reference book, it's a training book. It isn't perfect, but
it lives up to the title.
 

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