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Learning Java Paperback – May 1, 2005


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Learning Java
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

(pat@pat.net) became involved with Oak (Java's predecessor) while working at Southwestern Bell Technology Resources. He is an independent consultant and author in the areas of networking and distributed applications. Pat is the author of BeanShell, a popular Java scripting language, as well as various other free goodies on the Net. Most recently, Pat has been developing enterprise architecture for A.G. Edwards. He currently lives in the Central West End area of St. Louis with various creatures.

Jonathan Knudsen is an author at O'Reilly & Associates. His books include The Unofficial Guide to Lego Mindstorms Robots, Java 2D Graphics, and Java Cryptography. He is the Courseware Writer for LearningPatterns.com.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 980 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; Third Edition edition (May 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596008732
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596008734
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #793,088 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By David A. Beamer on January 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
One expects a certain amount of intellectual gravity and reliability with the O'Reilly "animal series" books on technical subjects. I bought the book based solely on the fact that I needed an intro book on Java, and have never been disappointed with an O'Reilly book. Well, now I have been disappointed.

The book starts very well. The first two chapters take you through an engaging tutorial -- taking one idea in Java at a time, and slowly building up. However, after those first two chapters, the tutorial goes away and the book gets very dry. The organization of the content is not well thought-out for a beginner's book. Just for a couple of fairly trivial examples, the authors spend a few pages on the "assert" keyword before they explain arrays (a very fundamental concept). As a comparison, "Head First Java" (highly recommended, by the way) doesn't mention "assert" until an appendix, and only as one of the "Top Ten Things That Didn't Make it into The Book" list. Also, there is a wasted page on optimization and performance in chapter 6, which is about Subclassing and Inheritance. It would have been better for them to focus on getting code running, and doing what it's supposed to do, and leave optimization for an Appendix.

Good points of the book include a lot of detailed explanation on some of the Java API, including Swing and JavaBeans, as well as explanations on how to use the two most popular IDEs: NetBeans and Eclipse. RMI and the natural relationship between Java and the web are covered well. And the 3rd edition of the book has been expanded to cover topics new in Java 5.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
I've been programming in Java for the last year and half, and Learning Java is the book I've been turning to most after picking up the rudiments from other sources. This 900+ page book is great for a reference on almost any Java topic. It is well written, and the authors generally do a very good job cutting through to the important aspects of each topic.

Learning Java is NOT, as other reviewers here have pointed out, a good choice for a first book on Java (unless, perhaps, one is already an experienced object-oriented programmer). This is not to say it's overly technical - just that there are better books for the purpose of learning Java as something new. For beginners I'd recommend Head First Java as the best single book.

As a deskside reference for Java topics, I find Learning Java more useful than Java in a Nutshell (Flanagan), Thinking In Java (Eckel), or Just Java (van der Linden). These other books each have their own strengths, but Learning Java has been a most worthwhile addition to my group of core Java books. I suspect that Learning Java would have a much wider following if only it had a different title.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mike Ryan on November 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
As other reviewers have stated, this is not a book for first time programmers. If you haven't programmed before, you should not buy this book. Probably, if you don't already feel comfortable with another procedural or object-oriented language (or the basics of Java itself), then you should not buy this book. I'm sure you'll be frustrated by the presentation, which is comprehensive, but assumes that readers either understand how to place all the information into context, or are willing to put a lot of work into doing so. As an example, for-loops and if-else-statements are finally fully defined in Chapter 4, almost 100 pages in. And that's after we've seen some sample programs, and after we've got the details for how java is compiled and packaged. The full discussion of Strings is even farther in -- Chapter 10, almost 300 pages in.

This presentation makes sense, if you've already programmed and understand how to evaluate each of elements of the language in the larger context. For programmers like me, this style of is a feature, not a bug. And it marks a return to the rigorous O'Reilly style that was their trademark in the 90's.

If you are an experienced programmer, and you want a book that will teach you in-depth the core of the language, this is an excellent read, and the best I've found so far. And like previous O'Reilly titles, it's borne up under repeated re-readings of selected material -- there's enough in here to get something fresh the next time around (though on extra readings, one does start to notice the verbosity a bit more).

I might wish for certain advanced topics to be covered differently. The author understandably likes his own BeanShell utility, but I probably wouldn't have a use for it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Y. Nikitin on November 20, 2008
Format: Paperback
I've been learning Java for half a year now, and I found this book to be going way to fast. Chapters 1 - 3, covers somewhat complex concepts such as multi-threading, interfaces and policy files. But only in chapter 4 do they explain the primitive types.

This is not a tutorial for beginners. You have to know considerably amount of Java before you can fully understand all the concepts in this book. The good thing is that they jump into OOP immediately, and explaining it very thoroughly.

My last bad point about this book is that when they give you an example, usually about 2 pages long, and you have about 15% of an idea of what's going on. Fortunately, they do provide an explanation, however it's usually about 15 pages long. The examples are way too complicated for chapter 1 - 3.

The language is very technical, but it seems easy enough to understand when you think carefully about it. Not a horrible, but also not too good of a book.
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