Recommendations for an online Introduction to programming using Java


H

Henry Cate

I have a young teenage daughter who is interested
in programming. She has been messing around with something
on Kahn Academy's web site which uses Javascript. A friend
of mine has a teenage son who is also interested in learning
how to program. I would like to get them started with Java,
but Google has 9.5 million hits for: "Introduction to
programming in Java"

Does anyone have recommendations for an online
forum which teaches the basics of programming, using Java?

I have read some of the current thread about what
is teaching Java. Here is what I would like:

Good introduction to real programming
Teaches the basics - make no assumptions on what the student already knows
Simple exercises to make sure they understand the concepts
Online video would be nice
Free would be nice


If you have a strong recommendation for a good book,
I would also appreciate that. (Amazon lists almost 800 books
for the same pattern.


Thanks.
 
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M

markspace

Does anyone have recommendations for an online
forum which teaches the basics of programming, using Java?

If you have a strong recommendation for a good book,
I would also appreciate that. (Amazon lists almost 800 books
for the same pattern.


I literally do not. Java's a big subject, and all of my own study has
been aimed at professional programming. It's been decades since I
looked at anything for teens.

So I went on Amazon and I looked at some of the titles that came up.
This caught my eye.

<http://www.amazon.com/Do---Yourself...-15&keywords=introduction+to+java+programming>
 
J

Jeff Higgins

I have a young teenage daughter who is interested
in programming. She has been messing around with something
on Kahn Academy's web site which uses Javascript. A friend
of mine has a teenage son who is also interested in learning
how to program. I would like to get them started with Java,
but Google has 9.5 million hits for: "Introduction to
programming in Java"

Does anyone have recommendations for an online
forum which teaches the basics of programming, using Java?

I have read some of the current thread about what
is teaching Java. Here is what I would like:

Good introduction to real programming
Teaches the basics - make no assumptions on what the student already knows
Simple exercises to make sure they understand the concepts
Online video would be nice
Free would be nice


If you have a strong recommendation for a good book,
I would also appreciate that. (Amazon lists almost 800 books
for the same pattern.

Excellent Java book. Not an introduction to programming.
<http://www.horstmann.com/corejava.html>
Why Java? Have the children expressed an interest in Java?
<http://www.csta.acm.org/Curriculum/sub/CurrResources.html>
 
S

Stefan Ram

markspace said:
I literally do not. Java's a big subject, and all of my own study has
been aimed at professional programming. It's been decades since I
looked at anything for teens.

There is a single outstanding Java book everybody
recommends. It's »Effective Java« by Joshua Bloch. But this
book is not for beginner's, and I do not know which book one
can recommend to a beginner.

Of course, I am aware that »Head First Java« and »Thinking
in Java« are recommended often, but I am not that impressed
by both of them. (I found too many defects in »Thinking in
Java«, and too many distractions in »Head First Java«.)

I can immediately name several outstanding high-quality
books for C++98: »Accelerated C++«, »Effective C++«,
»Exceptional C++«, »Modern C++ Design«, and »The C++
programming language«. (There also is no book for absolute
C++ beginners amongst them.)

But for Java, I only can think of this single book:
»Effective Java«, as being high-quality beyond doubt
for the topic of general Java programming.

So, do you all know any other general Java book that play
in the same league as »Effective Java«?

(My students sometimes ask for a Java book I can recommend,
but Bloch's book would still be too advanced for them, even
though there is a German translation available.)
 
J

Joerg Meier

Of course, I am aware that »Head First Java« and »Thinking
in Java« are recommended often, but I am not that impressed
by both of them. (I found too many defects in »Thinking in
Java«, and too many distractions in »Head First Java«.)

I certainly have not heard TIJ being considered a good choice for a very
long time now. I think you aren't the only one to come to that conclusion.

Liebe Gruesse,
Joerg
 
H

Henry Cate

Excellent Java book. Not an introduction to programming.
<http://www.horstmann.com/corejava.html>

I agree. Core Java is an excellent book. I've bought
two editions. Well worth the money.
Why Java? Have the children expressed an interest in Java?
<http://www.csta.acm.org/Curriculum/sub/CurrResources.html>

Both children have expressed an interest in programming.
At least in my daughters case I think part of it steams from
wondering what her father does. I am tending towards Java
because it is my strongest language and I like Java.

Another reason I'm tending towards Java is I think it is
a good language. I think the first language a person learns can
influence how they think about all programming languages. My
father jokes that he can program Fortran in ten different languages.
If my daughter does become a programmer I'd like her to have solid
programming practices down which I think are easier to learn in
Java, than some other languages.
 
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H

Henry Cate

There is a single outstanding Java book everybody
recommends. It's »Effective Java« by Joshua Bloch. But this
book is not for beginner's, and I do not know which book one
can recommend to a beginner.

Thanks for the suggestion. It does seem too advance for
my daughter, but I've been thinking it would be good to go through
a book again as a refresher course, so I'll check it out.
 
A

Arne Vajhøj

I have a young teenage daughter who is interested
in programming. She has been messing around with something
on Kahn Academy's web site which uses Javascript. A friend
of mine has a teenage son who is also interested in learning
how to program. I would like to get them started with Java,
but Google has 9.5 million hits for: "Introduction to
programming in Java"

Does anyone have recommendations for an online
forum which teaches the basics of programming, using Java?

I have read some of the current thread about what
is teaching Java. Here is what I would like:

Good introduction to real programming
Teaches the basics - make no assumptions on what the student already knows
Simple exercises to make sure they understand the concepts
Online video would be nice
Free would be nice

If you have a strong recommendation for a good book,
I would also appreciate that. (Amazon lists almost 800 books
for the same pattern.

I will recommend a book over a web tutorial.

For a book I would go for an author that is good at writing
beginner programming books over a Java guru.

The Ivor Horton and Herbert Schildt types.

If you insist in a web tutorial, then you should probably
go for the official Java tutorial.

Arne
 
J

Jeff Higgins

I agree. Core Java is an excellent book. I've bought
two editions. Well worth the money.


Both children have expressed an interest in programming.
At least in my daughters case I think part of it steams from
wondering what her father does. I am tending towards Java
because it is my strongest language and I like Java.

Another reason I'm tending towards Java is I think it is
a good language. I think the first language a person learns can
influence how they think about all programming languages. My
father jokes that he can program Fortran in ten different languages.
If my daughter does become a programmer I'd like her to have solid
programming practices down which I think are easier to learn in
Java, than some other languages.

Excellent!

In my case, Core Java, a shaky old computer, JDK, and a great
interest sufficed. Close, caring guidance would have been a
great benefit.

Sorry I couldn't help with your request for online resources.
 
J

Jeff Higgins

Sorry I couldn't help with your request for online resources.

Second thought. Probably not what you're looking for and somewhat
dated, but Dick Baldwin's tutorials have been a big help for me.
 
H

Henry Cate

Second thought. Probably not what you're looking for and somewhat
dated, but Dick Baldwin's tutorials have been a big help for me.

Thanks. I am guessing you are refering to the lessons
from this page:

http://www.dickbaldwin.com/tocint.htm

I skimmed the first one and it doesn't seem basic enough
for what I want, but it does look like a good resource for once
these teenagers get going.
 
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J

Jeff Higgins

This kind of seems to be what I want:

http://thenewboston.org/list.php?cat=31

I'll check them out this weekend to see if the quality
is pretty good and how engaging the videos are.

Very interesting site. Thanks for the link.
Just did my own comparison - the Hello World video from the
above with the Hello World video from Cat Horstmann's
_Java For Everyone: Late Objects, 2nd Edition_.
I am not a teenager. Bucky uses Eclipse, Cay BlueJ.
 
A

Arne Vajhøj

Thanks. I'll check them out.

This kind of seems to be what I want:

http://thenewboston.org/list.php?cat=31

I'll check them out this weekend to see if the quality
is pretty good and how engaging the videos are.

Videos has been hot for several years now.

But I must admit to be so old fashioned to prefer books.

Sure it is more difficult to read books than to watch videos. But
if reading books is a problem, then programming will be a big problem.

And nothing provides the same amount of information as a good book.

Arne
 
A

Arne Vajhøj

I skimmed the first one and it doesn't seem basic enough
for what I want, but it does look like a good resource for once these
teenagers get going.
In a way its a pity you're going for Java, much as I like it personally.
I had the same problem getting started. I was already an experienced
programmer at that point (lots of assembler, COBOL and C plus projects
written using PL/1, TAL and RPG 3 [shudder]), but a 5 day Sun Java course
didn't help me at all. I eventually got a copy of Ivor Horton's
"Beginning Java". I'm certain its not to best book in the world, but it
did get me set on the right path and had the advantage of assuming I'd
learn using a command line, my favourite text editor and the JDK. Later I
picked up ant and the use of an IDE. It also has a decent collection of
fairly well thought-out examples and exercises.

C is a relative simple language. Java is more complex and when starting
to introduce part of the standard Java API, then it is huge.

Arne
 
H

Henry Cate

I skimmed the first one and it doesn't seem basic enough
for what I want, but it does look like a good resource for once these
teenagers get going.
In a way its a pity you're going for Java, much as I like it personally.
I had the same problem getting started. I was already an experienced
programmer at that point (lots of assembler, COBOL and C plus projects
written using PL/1, TAL and RPG 3 [shudder]), but a 5 day Sun Java course
didn't help me at all. I eventually got a copy of Ivor Horton's
"Beginning Java". I'm certain its not to best book in the world, but it
did get me set on the right path and had the advantage of assuming I'd
learn using a command line, my favourite text editor and the JDK. Later I
picked up ant and the use of an IDE. It also has a decent collection of
fairly well thought-out examples and exercises.

Why a pity? Because I thought one of the best computer language teaching
books I have used was "The C Programming Language" by Kernighan & Richie.
They write very well and provide both excellent example code and useful
chapter-end examples. I do think that a beginner could learn to write
decent C using only this book and would, at the end of it, find they had
a useful conceptual grounding that could be easily extended to make sense
of almost any other block-structured language.

Add a copy of "The Practise of Programming" by Kernighan & Pike, which
BTW, can be usefully read to improve your programming in almost any
modern language and you have a solid basis for any programmer's reference
library. This book takes over where the language teaching texts leave off
and contains sound advice in writing code that is well structured with a
sensible naming convention, while also being easy to debug and easy to
read and maintain.

Thanks for the suggestions. I don't think I've read
"The Practise of Programming." I'll have to check it out.

Along these lines if "Code Complete" by Steve McConnell.
I think he does a great job of explaing the craft of programming.
He has posted the book online if you want to check it out:

http://www.cc2e.com/Page.aspx?nid=71
 
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C

Chris Riesbeck

Very interesting site. Thanks for the link.
Just did my own comparison - the Hello World video from the
above with the Hello World video from Cat Horstmann's
_Java For Everyone: Late Objects, 2nd Edition_.
I am not a teenager. Bucky uses Eclipse, Cay BlueJ.

I looked at a couple of the early videos. A sincere effort but along
with learning Java, you'll learn a lot of bad habits, especially in
naming things. E.g., his first example is a hello world program in a
class called "apples," thereby managing to make three mistakes in one
short name.
 
S

Stefan Ram

Chris Riesbeck said:
I looked at a couple of the early videos. A sincere effort but along
with learning Java, you'll learn a lot of bad habits, especially in
naming things. E.g., his first example is a hello world program in a
class called "apples," thereby managing to make three mistakes in one
short name.

1st) the name is not related to the meaning of the class
(most severe)
2nd) it does not start with an upper-case letter
3rd) it contains a comma

The quality assessments of beginners and experts often
differ. A beginner senses whether the learning process
triggered by reading a book makes him feel good, and will
not always recognize it when he learns something that is
wrong. When the book tells the beginner: »You can name a
class any way you like as long as the name sounds really
cool, for example, try funny fruit names.«, a young beginner
might actually like this stance. Possibly, he will continue
to read this book, while he would have stopped reading a
more boring book even though it is more correct in technical
terms. So, the funny book with the mistakes might actually
make him learn more (some of which is wrong).

There is a German Java programming book, whose name I
forgot, that uses class and variable names like »Jacob« and
«Sophia«. While experts criticise this, some readers
(beginners) say that it helps them to understand that these
are names the programmer can assign as he likes it,
setting them clearly apart from keywords like »return«,
marking them as /names/.
 
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C

Chris Riesbeck

1st) the name is not related to the meaning of the class
(most severe)
2nd) it does not start with an upper-case letter
3rd) it contains a comma

The comma was punctuation for the sentence (as mandated by the grammar
police). The third mistake was using a plural for something not a
collection. But perhaps that was unfair since it wasn't even an apple
either.
 

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