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Learn to Program with Java Paperback – January 2, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Whether you are brand new to programming in general or coming to Java from another language, John Smiley's Learn to Program with Java offers a truly approachable tutorial designed with the beginner in mind. Covering Java syntax and essential programming concepts, this text can be used at home to simulate a semester's worth of Java study.

Like Smiley's previous titles, the salient feature of this text is the author's scenario-based presentation style. Instead of addressing the reader directly, Smiley simulates the experience of about 18 first-semester programming students facing Java for the first time. As the students develop a grade calculation project in Java (and improve it with object-oriented features later on), basic questions are raised and answered with the reader "overhearing" the author's consistently clear and patient explanation of key programming concepts.

While this approach is certainly not for those in a hurry, it can do the trick for the programming newbie. With an extensive Q&A for each step, Smiley covers most every conceivable obstacle and confusion. (The questions presented here are drawn from his extensive real-world teaching experience.)

After covering the basics of today's iterative software development cycle (a reminder to plan before you write any code), the book implements a grade-averaging program used for several departments at a hypothetical college. Smiley rehearses the discussions of the potential users of this application, as well as the students who then build it. The simple program is a good one as it allows the author to introduce basic Java syntax, as well as fundamental programming concepts (like variables and loops), without getting too bogged down in complexity.

Once the basic program has been built, Smiley introduces using objects to solve the same problem. His guide to basic object-oriented design, as well as how to code basic objects in Java, is once again clear and sensible. If the "big picture" behind using objects has eluded you, the practical presentation offered here may well help things click. By the end of the book, the final version of the program gets enhanced with support for arrays, plus a basic graphical user interface built with simple Swing components.

Most introductory programming texts try to cover everything at once, a temptation that's especially great with the rich (and complex) Java platform. The streamlined set of lessons here help make this title a good choice for Java newbies who want a patient and really approachable beginner's tutorial. --Richard Dragan

Topics covered: Introductory Java-based programming tutorial, the basics of the software design process, the System Development Life Cycle (SDLC): from analysis and design to development, implementation and maintenance; a first Java program, variables and constants, basic data types and operators, flow control and loops, custom methods, using objects (constructors, class variables and finalizers) access specifiers and instance variables, getters and setters, inheritance fundamentals, using arrays, error handling with exceptions, basic user interface design with Swing controls, event handling with listeners, adapters and events; and a case study for a grade-calculation program.

From the Back Cover

The easiest technical book you'll ever read. Open it up and see for yourself!

Join Professor Smiley's Java class as he teaches essential skills in programming, coding, and more. Using a student-instructor conversational format, this book starts at the very beginning with crucial programming fundamentals. You'll quickly learn how to identify customer needs so that you can create an application that achieves programming objectives--just like experienced programmers. By identifying clear client goals, you'll learn important programming basics--like how computers view input and execute output based on the information they are given--then use those skills to develop real-world applications. Participate in this one-of-a-kind classroom experience and see why Professor Smiley is renowned for making learning fun and easy.

  • Learn programming fundamentals like Selection structures, loops, and arrays
  • Cover object-oriented programming techniques like inheritance, method overloading, and interfaces
  • Use swing to develop a graphical user interface and event-driven programs
  • Build object-oriented Java programs from scratch
  • Develop a real-world project
  • Get a solid foundation of Java knowledge with chapter-by-chapter reinforcement of information and more than 200 example programs

About the Author:

John Smiley, MCP, MCSD, MCT, is president of Smiley and Associates, a computer consulting firm. He is also the author of eight books, and a computer science professor at Penn State University in Abington, Holy Family College, and Philadelphia University.

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Product Details

  • Series: Learn to Program
  • Paperback: 700 pages
  • Publisher: Osborne/McGraw-Hill; 1st edition (January 2, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0072131896
  • ISBN-13: 978-0072131895
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 7.1 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,181,174 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I live just outside of Philadelphia, Pa. I am the president of my own Computer consulting firm, Smiley and Associates, and I provide computer services to companies both large and small in the surrounding Philadelphia Metropolitan area.'Currently, I am working on a long term contract programming position doing mostly Visual Basic work, but also some JavaScript and Oracle Database work.

Over the years, my consulting contracts have included contract positions as a Systems Analyst, Mainframe IDMS Database Administrator, Oracle Database Administrator, Network LAN Administrator, UNIX Systems Administrator, and programming positions using these languages: COBOL, C, C++, Java, and Visual Basic (my personal favorite).'

In addition to my work in the computer industry, I love to share my knowledge, and so for the last twenty years I have taught Computer Science at several Philadelphia area colleges and universities---I truly love to teach.

In 1998, I wrote an introductory Visual Basic programming book, and since then, have written others on Visual Basic, VB.Net, C#, Java and C++, and I'm currently working on a book on JavaScript. Writing books is just another way I have found to share my knowledge. In connection with my books, I have also appeared twice on TechTV's Cable show ScreenSavers. Also, my Java book was used as a plot vehicle in one of the episodes of HBO's Sopranos fourth season--which was very exciting!

I enjoy sports of all kind, and have participated in the MS150, which is a two day, 150 mile bike ride from Philadelphia to Ocean City, NJ, whose proceeds will, hopefully, cure Multiple Sclerosis. Two years ago, I started running again, and have recently completed several 5K, 8K and 5 mile races.'

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Donna Bowman on November 15, 2001
Format: Paperback
I'm not a professional programmer---just someone who enjoys writing programs as a hobby. I signed up for John Smiley's Java Study Group, which is a Blackboard.com based learning environment. The Study Group used this book as the course textbook, and I found it to be a wonderful vehicle to learn Java---which I think is a more difficult language to learn than Visual Basic.
First off, I should tell you that I'm a big fan of John Smiley and his books. I have all four of his Visual Basic programming books, and I used them to learn how to write my first computer program. I've also participated in many of his on-line courses, and subscribe to his Visual Basic mailing list. When John Smiley writes a book, he builds a community around it, with a support structure consisting of a web page and mailing list. If you need help, you can also email him--and he'll actually write back to you, although not necessarily the same day or with a
direct answer (he is a teacher after all!)
Here's my evaluation of Learn to Program with Java:
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THE BOOK:
1. It's written so that anyone can understand it, in other words, you don't have to be a nerd to understand it. My husband is a computer programmer, and if I want to be spoken to in 'geek-speak', I would have let him teach me Java. I needed a book that patiently explained, in detail, the fundamentals of Java programming, not only the how-to-do but the 'why's' behind the language. This book did exactly that.
2. In each chapter he presents a demonstration program to illustrate the points he is trying to make.
3. Each chapter has a series of exercises for the reader to complete, with detailed instructions to guide you in completing it.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Jon Taliaferro on December 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
I'll be the first to tell you that buying this book was a hard choice for me---I'm a skeptic, and whenever I see high praise for a book (especially when the author is a teacher) I figure it's just a bunch of his students posting reviews hoping to get an 'A' in his course. Also, unlike the other reviewers, I wasn't turned on by the thought of reading about a college programming class. If I wanted to sit through a college classroom with a bunch of people asking questions, I'd probably take a college course---but I hate the idea, and I really thought I'd hate this book. I was wrong.
I've been trying to learn Java on my own for the last two years, and I've bought and returned probably about a dozen. What made me buy the book is the fact that the reviewers said the book contained a working project developed during the course of the book.
That's what I needed desperately. Most books on programming have lots of examples--but they don't lead to anything. This book takes a single idea---a program to calculate student grades--and works with it until you have a completed Java program. By the end of the book, I actually knew how to write my own Java program.
I should say that despite what I thought, the cutesy classroom dialog didn't bother me all that much---it's an interesting way to write a book.
The author also has some additional material on Java posted on his website (including a chapter on Applet creation which interestingly isn't written using the cutesy classroom style--I'm not sure which one I like better).
As I say, I'm a skeptic at heart, and I'm giving this book five stars. Why? It's the first Java book I haven't returned. I'll probably keep it--or give it to one of my friends who needs to learn Java.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Yan on January 16, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Read the entire book in five days. I am an experienced programmer and have been using other books to complete my Java skills (taking the certification exam shortly). And all I can really tell you is that Professor Smiley should continue to publishing because he really knows how to teach. Many authors, for example Ivor Horton, know the language they are trying to teach but loose something in the attempt. John Smiley, on the other hand, knows how to teach the topic so that anyone with any motivation can learn the subject matter. You will not find a better text to teach you programming and the Java language. I personally have read Beginning Java 2 by Horton and the Core Java and neither book makes the subject matter as accessible as Learn to Program with Java. I hope the Professor Smily considers writing an advanced Text for Java.
Of course somewhere along the line someone will tell you that the book is not in depth enough. Although, they are correct in saying that it is not the definitive guide to Java programming it's not meant to be. You will learn how to program using this book and you will learn enough of the core language that will lead you to more advanced topics. Lets just hope that John Smiley considers writing an advanced book.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Yan on January 21, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It took me a week to read this book. Granted I am an experienced programmer. Regardless, Prof Smiley truly knows how to teach programming. This book is really geared towards beginning programmers and I don't think there is a better book out there. If you want to learn how to program using Java as the language then I recommend you start with the book. There are plenty of authors that claim to have a beginning text--Prof Smiley actually delivers.
Yes you will hear the complaints about typos and the like. John Smiley has a website with the ERRATA for this book. Remember its a first edition. And the book provides you with his email address. He actually got back to me on the same day.
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