Learning Java 5.0 , a more visual conceptual approach. Help!

Discussion in 'Java' started by google 24/7, Feb 21, 2006.

  1. google 24/7

    google 24/7 Guest

    I am looking for a more visual conceptual approach to learning Java
    5.0. A book, tutorial, DVD on more analogies, flowcharts, visual
    representations, like Headfirst into Java by O'Reilly. I happen to see
    things more visually and have less of a grasp when it comes to
    abstractions. (No wonder I preferred Geometry to Algebra in
    highschool). I really want to learn this language and people miss the
    point when they say I should learn something else. That's like saying
    I really want to learn Japanese in a more visual way and need visual
    representations to translate from English and someone says "well, you
    know you should learn sign language and pantomine instead it's more
    visual." Oh well then, I guess to those people, learning Japanese is
    out of the question, thus I never get to learn Japanese.

    I live next to a computer store and there are more Java books in there
    then I've ever seen in any general bookstore, but they all seem to be
    very oh so abstract and technical. So far I have only one book,
    Headfirst into Java, which seems to suit my tastes. Some of these
    books are like reading technical scholarly papers and are soooo

    The class I have been taking for more than a month now well truth is I
    am having a hard time keeping up with it.
    1)the teacher keeps refering to C++ which I have no familiarity with
    beyond it being used as a measure for school grades and 2)the book we
    are using is like reading the white pages 3)They are going by too fast
    4)The approach of the class is so technically abstract with not enough
    teaching structure paid to the general whole and then focusing in on
    details. (By the way half the class has dropped off in a months time
    and people that already have experience in other prog language which to
    work off of or people who are working in industry already are the only
    ones left. I'm so alone)

    I reaaalllly really really need your help here guys/gals. I am just
    getting more discouraged by the moment.

    One more thing. I know I can learn Java without having to learn C++
    which few have told me to take. Well I'm not intrested in learning C++
    if I don't have to because I really don't have any interest in learning
    it, not now anyway. Even though many root words in English are derived
    from Latin, I sure as hell don't remember being pushed to learn Latin
    before saying "momma" and "dadda".

    Today the class I'm taking, I will be yet another casualty in the
    class. No more. I will have to regroup and retool my whole approach.
    Fact of the matter is guys and gals, all of you, I believe I can learn
    a lot more from you all then from that dreaded class. The disscussion
    board on Blackboard Media for the class is horrible. You guys will be
    some of my trusted tutors and guardian angels and I thank you very
    much. I'm about to drop jump off the stage into the mosh pit. I trust
    you will catch my fall. Please help me resolve this delemma.

    Sincerely, Desparate.
    google 24/7, Feb 21, 2006
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  2. I found that SAMS Teach Yourself Java 2 in 21 Days was a good book,
    it's not nearly as dry as it looks I promise! ;-) Obviously though,
    any book like that is only going to be able to cover the basic stuff
    but this is a good place to start. I have only just recently started
    learning Java and I'm midway through writing a non-trivial Java/XML
    application. It was slow and hard wotk to start with but you sound as
    though you're determined! One thing I would recommend is doing the
    examples in whichever book you read as you go along, it's very easy
    just to skim read the source code and not actually compile and mess
    around with it, but do, because it will make things clearer. Also, take
    a look at the Java API (http://java.sun.com/j2se/1.5.0/docs/api/) as
    you are learning and see where each class/method that is mentioned has
    come from and what other methods are available to that class etc.
    Good luck!

    steve_marjoribanks, Feb 21, 2006
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  3. google 24/7

    zero Guest

    I had a teacher like that too. He was pretty much learning Java while
    teaching it, being a former C++ teacher. I stopped going to the class.
    Instead, I took the book, read it cover to cover in two months time (the
    class spent two years on the book, while skipping some parts). In those
    two months, I believe I became just as good as the teacher, if not better.
    I'm quite sure that now, after reading some advanced books and getting some
    experience, I could teach a better class than this teacher.

    So, in short, I would suggest selfstudy. If you have any questions, usenet
    is the place to ask - just make sure you try to understand it by yourself
    first. Perhaps comp.lang.java.help is a better place for this than
    comp.lang.java.programmer - although you're likely to get help in both

    As for study material, I strongly suggest Deitel's Java How To Program.
    It's perfect for self study, with lots (and *lots*) of pedagogical material
    such as exercises, summary sections, self-review exercises, more elaborate
    exercises, ... Plus, a big advantage is that it talks about objects right
    from the start, so you'll get a feel of OO right away. The optional case
    study is also very good to this effect. And it also uses nice colours and
    stuff ;)

    zero, Feb 21, 2006
  4. google 24/7

    Chris Uppal Guest

    google 24/7 wrote:

    [I replying to stuff out-of-order]
    Heaven... ;-)

    Quite right. If you happened to know C++ already then it would help you get
    started a bit faster with some of the details that you have to (more or less)
    just memorise, but beyond that it'd be more of a hindrance than a help. Java
    is quite different from C++, and it can be quite hard for C++ programmers to
    accept that. That might be why your instructors keep referring to it: if they
    know there are a lot of C++ programmers on your course then they may think it
    will help to emphasise the differences.

    What's more C++ is harder to learn than Java[*], so starting with C++ just /in
    order/ to learn Java would be seriously stupid !

    ([*] There's more to learn, and better ways to make worse mistakes.)

    But despite what I said above, it sounds as if your teacher's not very
    competent. Do you get on well enough with him/her to ask questions privately ?
    Would you be comfortable discussing your problems with him/her ? I ask mainly
    because it seems you are going to have to do a fair bit of your learning by
    self-study rather than by following the course, but if you can talk to your
    teachers and ask about things in your self-study and how they relate to the
    coursework without them deciding that you are a jerk, then that could be a big

    What book is it ? It'd be a bit sad if we all recommended XYZ as the best
    book there is, and it turned out to be the one you are already using ;-)

    Hmm, I feel more and more that your teachers are not that good.

    Yup. That settles it. OTOH, if you are the only one left in the "not already
    a programmer" category, then maybe they'll be able and willing[**] to spend
    more time with you than would otherwise be the case.

    ([**] Or even eager -- high dropout rates do /not/ look good on a teacher's

    The best I can think of is that you might find BlueJ and its book useful. I
    think Daniel Dyer mentioned it in your earlier thread.

    BlueJ is a teaching tool. It acts like an IDE (integrated development
    environment) but really it's 90% about teaching. It's a "place" where you
    write (Java) code, and can execute it, and (very importantly IMO) can "see" and
    interact with the objects you create. You can download BlueJ for free from
    their website:
    Before you go off to look there, remember that BlueJ is a /teaching/ tool, so
    the website is aimed at teachers who may choose to use it in their classes,
    it's not really (or at all) aimed at the pupils who will actually /use/ it. So
    it won't be trying to persuade you of how useful BlueJ would be to you --
    because you aren't a teacher.

    BlueJ comes with a book (not free) which is intended to be the course-book for
    teaching Java with BlueJ. It is called "Objects First with Java - A Practical
    Introduction Using BlueJ". You can find some sample chapters here:
    (I /hope/ it won't turn out to the be textbook you're already hating so much

    If you possibly can, and if you don't decide to drop your course, then talk to
    your teachers about BlueJ, and about how the book relates to their coursework.

    But, whether you fancy BlueJ or not, do try to stick with the course for as
    long as you can. It's much harder to learn programming of any sort if you
    don't have someone you can /talk/ to. We, here on Usenet, are OK at waffling
    about high-level abstractions, or at very detailed nitty-gritty, but Usenet
    isn't so good at the kind of step-by-step hand-holding that real teaching
    requires. Even if you gave up all hope of actually passing the course, it
    would still be very valuable to have access to the teachers, and other people
    to interact with directly.

    -- chris
    Chris Uppal, Feb 21, 2006
  5. google 24/7

    Paul Hamaker Guest

    Google 24/7,

    my lessons are not abstract and only technical insofar the explanation
    needs to be, because each lesson is based on a concrete example and
    builds on the previous ones.
    I avoid lengthy theoretical dissertations and administer theory in
    small doses.
    You can find them all here : http://javalessons.com and see if they're
    your cup of tea.
    Paul Hamaker, Feb 21, 2006
  6. I don't think you can beat BlueJ www.bluej.org for learning java concepts
    visually. There's a neat IDE that allows you to build in a strictly OO way
    and also a book which a lot of java tutors rave about.
    jason rousell, Feb 21, 2006
  7. google 24/7

    PofN Guest

    They don't. You got some fine advice, you just don't like it.

    If you think and learn like you write you have a serious problem at
    hand. Your argumentation is illogical and incoherent. You don't finish
    your thoughts and you jump between unrelated topics. You appear to be
    incapable of concentrating for more than ten seconds. You behave as if
    we, the language, the world owes you something.

    I tell you what. No one owes you anything. We are not responsible for
    the way your head is wired.
    No, it is like saying there is no magic bullet. It is like saying if
    you can't stand the heat don't go near the fire.
    Guess what? Programming is a highly technical thing. It is often dry
    and boring. It takes years to learn it. Those "Teach yourself shit in
    21 days" are a joke and a rip-off. That's the way it is and the
    programming world will not change because you want it to change. You
    want visual entertainment? Buy a comic book.

    Java 5.0 SE comes with more than 3200 public classes and interfaces.
    Each class with a set of methods. You want that visualized? With some
    all-singing, all-dancing poodles? So your royal highness isn't
    inconvenienced? Forget it.
    Whine, whine, whine, whine. It's always the others, isn't it?

    PofN, Feb 21, 2006
  8. Take a look at 'Objects First With Java'
    (http://www.techbookreport.com/tbr0096.html), it's a book that uses
    BlueJ to teach Java. Read the review for more details as to why this
    might suit you.

    There are also plenty of other recommendations here:

    TechBookReport, Feb 22, 2006
  9. To be honest Ralph I think you're talking rubbish! Surely by attending
    Java classes in the first place and then posting on here asking for
    help when he got stuck shows a certain level of determination to learn
    does it not? I imagine there are quite a few tutors who seem to make
    Java the most dull and difficult subject in the world.

    Yes Java is a highly complex language 'with over 3200 public classes
    and interfaces' (ZZzzzzzz....) but it doesn't mean he shouldn't have
    ago. Surprise surprise, at some stage in your life you were in exactly
    the same position as the OP, I very much doubt that you picked up
    everything there was to learn about Java at the very forst instance it
    was introduced to you. Just because you've been programming in Java a
    while and you're oh so experienced doesn't make you the best thing
    since sliced bread.

    Also, I found the Teach Yourself Java in 21 Days book to be an
    excellent purchase. It covers all the basics you need to get yourself
    started. It doesn't claim to turn you into a Java programmer in 21
    days, it does however introduce all the core concepts to you. It can't
    tell you how to think and how to solve problems within a programming
    context because thats up to the reader to learn with practice.

    Any, enough of a rant. My adive to the OP is to ignore the **** thats
    written above!
    steve_marjoribanks, Feb 22, 2006
  10. google 24/7

    Chris Uppal Guest

    Having a bad day Ralph ?

    -- chris
    Chris Uppal, Feb 22, 2006
  11. google 24/7

    Roedy Green Guest

    Java the language is simpler that most but Smalltalk. In other
    languages you have to write most of those classes yourself or scout
    around the net to cobble together a collection from third parties. And
    even then, they will work on only one platform unless you pay big

    Java's set works together and is documented in a consistent way. You
    can actually glue things together from different authors. That is a
    ruddy miracle.
    Roedy Green, Feb 24, 2006
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