So, you're starting from zero in an effort to learn the Java programming language. What book will help you most? Just Java 2 should be on your desktop. It's one of a select group of introductory Java books that honestly earns its cover price.
Shying away from complicated aspects of the language that are seldom used in most practical situations, Peter van der Linden focuses his considerable teaching skills upon the parts of the language you really need to understand in order to be a good Java programmer. He covers basic structure and syntax very well, and gives similarly excellent attention to object orientation and the means by which Java implements it. Applets, Beans, input/output streams, basic graphics, Swing, and security all get superb coverage.
In short, this book explains everything you really need to know in order to write useful Java programs. With sharp text and very good example programs, the author shows you how to get things done. In the process, van der Linden--a funny guy--pauses often to show you how to make an origami water-bomber or comment upon software error messages like "runt packet."
The CD-ROM that comes with this book deserves much praise, as well. Packed with honestly useful tools and all of the author's examples, it employs a fine HTML-based interface that other books ought to imitate. --David Wall
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Just Java 2 is the fourth edition of Peter van der Linden's introduction to object-oriented programming and to the art of Java. It's aimed at intermediate programmers for whom Java shall serve as their baptism in object programming. In its category, Just Java is noteworthy, and is marred for this reviewer only by the author's injection of himself into his book.
I'll explain my criticism later in this review. First, let's talk about what's right with van der Linden's book.
Just Java is more than an author's striving for publication; it's semiofficial Sun pedagogy. This is part of Sun's attempt to make learning Java easy and grab more geek mindshare and heartshare. The lessons reflect pretty accurately what a Sun engineer feels is that portion of the truth about the Java language, the Java VM, the AWT, and Swing that the entry programmer must know at a minimum to begin to actually deliver some code. --Jack Woehr, Dr. Dobb's Electronic Review of Computer Books -- Dr. Dobb's Electronic Review of Computer Books
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