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195 of 207 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars *Excellent content *Dour presentation *hard for novice
rating 4.5.
First of all this book was freely available online. That was how it was written I believe: posted, public review, correction. A novel approach.
This books is plain inside. His prose and explanations were ostly good, but a time just a little too verbose for me (no criticism but it just didn't do it for me: I prefer succint explanation + example: he...
Published on January 14, 2004 by Patrick Thompson

versus
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Read from Cover-to-Cover or Don't read at all!
This book is just what the title says it is. This is not a book to learn Java from, and it is not a useful reference. It is a book to help the reader understand the mindset behind Java. It makes frequent reference to C++ (which I don't know and don't care about) and contains several multi-page examples that sometimes seem to go on forever.
By all means, read this...
Published on April 20, 2004 by M. Loftus


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195 of 207 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars *Excellent content *Dour presentation *hard for novice, January 14, 2004
By 
Patrick Thompson (Sydney, NSW Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Thinking in Java: The Definitive Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming in the Language of the World-Wide Web, 3rd Edition (Paperback)
rating 4.5.
First of all this book was freely available online. That was how it was written I believe: posted, public review, correction. A novel approach.
This books is plain inside. His prose and explanations were ostly good, but a time just a little too verbose for me (no criticism but it just didn't do it for me: I prefer succint explanation + example: he can wax lyrical just a little bit, which lends some warmth to the work, but also for busy people uneeded....so it's a personal judgement). The code examples in the book are probably the ugliest I've ever seen in a while (font wise...the code is presented as pages and pages and pages of monospace...ah the humanity! Very intimidating for the novice! Compare to deitel: colored!)
Seriously, given the process this book went through: continual public online review, editing and criticism, means the errors are minimal and the content focused on what you need to know as guaranteed by peer-reivew (not a bunch of superfluous, repitition nonsense that pad out Deitel books)...This is a really great book that was diminished a little through corner cutting by a publisher. If you can get beyond the mediocre presentation, then you find an excellent book for the above novice programmer. It's quite a philosophical journey through the heart of Java at times. And coverage of most topics is quite strong (if a little weirdly ordered at times...but then that's a personal thing: eg. the introduction that the beginning is quite deep and intrduces some heavy-ish concecpts straight off the bat...but again this is a personal judgement: objects first or basics first? its 50-50 either way?)
Actually I should clarify that: if you're a beginner: This book is not for you I don't think. I tutor a student who is just starting out in Java programming and he managed to get about 20 pages into this brick and then quit -> he said it was too hard. He opened it, looked at the code and his jaw dropped!
Having read this book I can understand why. The presentation is not conducive to the beginner who needs more guidance through concepts rather than just slabs of text. That's the problem with writing a book this way (publically post-review-correct): the only people who interact are people who already know some Java or a lot of Java so this skews the process toward producing a book for them. Most beginners probably have never heard of Bruce Eckel and thereby didn't contribute to the making of this book. Hence they have been somehwat excluded from the process.
I can wade through pages of monspace Java code because I am not a beginner. But this is probably too overwhelming for one new to the language (it just hits them too hard I think). I recommend Kathy Sierra's Headfirst Java (foremost for the beginner!). FOr everybody else...what they hey why not! It's pretty good value and not a insipid and dumb as Deitel. And it's more concrete that Van Der Linden. It and Ivor Horton's Beginning Java are on about par I feel, for different reasons: Bruce, the language coverage (depth far exceeds Ivor!). Ivor: for breadth and succinctness. I feel Bruce is wanting you to understand backward-forwards-upwards-downwards-inside-out the language. Not dazzle you with simple Swing stuff (which only works for novices anyway). When you're finished Kathy Sierra, come back and try this. YOu'll be ready by then!
Hopefully version 4 they'll put a bit more effort into the graphical arrangement of the book: a few diagrams here and there wouldn't hurt...just to break the monotony. Seriously I think Bruce should get a new publisher...one who will fulfill his vision, not impede it with their cheapness.
COntent wise: VERY good. Doesn't wallow in the cheap ooh-ahh factor of Swing that much, but does the langauge very well (I wasn't overly fussed on treatment of inner classes...but that's a personal thing I guess). Still this is one of the benchmark books for begining/intermediate programmers and that didn't happen by accident!
And as one of the benchmark books
Thinking in Java: Bruce Eckel
Beginning Java: Ivor Horton
Just Java 2: Peter Van Der Linden
How to Program Java: Deitel & Deitel
Core Java 2: Horstmann
I would rate them as such (in order):
For beginners: Horton, Eckel, Deitel, Horstmann, Van Der Linden
For Intermediate: Eckel, Van Der Linden, Horton, Horstmann, Deitel
Best all round: Eckel, Horton, van Der Linden, horstmann, Deitel
best visual layout/ quality of publication: deitel, Van Der Linden, Horton, Horstmann, Eckel
broadest view: van der linden, eckel, Horton, Deitel, Horstmann
most useful code: horstmann, deitel = eckel = horton, van der linden
value for money: eckel, horton, van der linden, horstmann, deitel
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ALL-LEVEL BOOK!, December 27, 2002
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This review is from: Thinking in Java: The Definitive Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming in the Language of the World-Wide Web, 3rd Edition (Paperback)
I keep a copy of all the 3 editions of this book and every revision that was posted on Bruce Eckel's website. As a Software Engineer and Java Developer/Programmer, I think the author has a great point of view and focus very carefully the details of OOP and let us access an excellent reference. I based my career on Microsoft's software but when I had to turn a 360º degrees with Java Mr. Eckel's book was the definitively resorce to go on. What can I say? Mr. Eckel has taught me what I know of the Java language.
All chapters are great, but in my case I found really interested Chapter 8 (Interfaces & Inner Classes), which I think has a deep and interesting analisys.
On the other hand, what I don't like about this book is the very commont reference to a book that does not exist (at least has not been published ...as the author says). I hope the "Thinking In Enterprise Java" book to be available soon, or I will be dissapointed with this author.
Also, I hope a final printed revision of "Thinking In Patterns with Java", although I know the author is planning the book with Python instead of Java.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An update of Eckel's classic text, March 23, 2003
This review is from: Thinking in Java: The Definitive Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming in the Language of the World-Wide Web, 3rd Edition (Paperback)
It is with some pleasure that I review Bruce Eckel's third edition of his already-classic "Thinking in Java". Four years ago, I read his first edition. It had a rare elegance amongst the literal ton of Java books already on the market. Enough others must have agreed, for a second edition came out soon thereafter. And now we have this third edition, that describes the latest Java, version 1.4.
If you are new to Java and are casting around for a suitable book, try this. The code examples and explanatory text are very clear. Little is assumed for prerequisites. Even if you have never programmed inany language, this will still be useful. Object oriented programming is explained in general terms that will be familiar to any C++ programmers.
Plus, if you already know some Java, but are uncertain about various nooks and crannies, this book may also help flesh out your understanding. It is not a Dummies [trade mark??] book. The most complicated chapter seems to be about multithreading/concurrency. Always a difficult topic for many readers. Eckel carefully steps through the issues here in a lucid way.
By the way, Eckel makes the text available on his website. But he and his publisher, Pearson, have made the calculation that most readers will still prefer a traditional bound copy, than peering at a computer screen or shuffling through looseleaf hardcopy. Which I suppose is a little ironic, given the subject material and the audience.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Read from Cover-to-Cover or Don't read at all!, April 20, 2004
This review is from: Thinking in Java: The Definitive Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming in the Language of the World-Wide Web, 3rd Edition (Paperback)
This book is just what the title says it is. This is not a book to learn Java from, and it is not a useful reference. It is a book to help the reader understand the mindset behind Java. It makes frequent reference to C++ (which I don't know and don't care about) and contains several multi-page examples that sometimes seem to go on forever.
By all means, read this book from cover-to-cover but look elsewhere if you wish to learn Java or want a reference book to help you look-up Java syntax or "how to" type examples.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ALL-LEVEL BOOK!, December 30, 2002
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This review is from: Thinking in Java: The Definitive Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming in the Language of the World-Wide Web, 3rd Edition (Paperback)
What can I say about this book? This book is great. I have based all my experience/career as software/systems engineer with Microsoft's line of products and when I had to turn on with JAVA Bruce Eckel's book was the book to go on and read and read. Never dissapointed.
I found "Thinking in Java" really interested because it is a book for the all-level programmer and developer. All chapters and revisions are good, but I found really fascinating the chapter about Inner Classes and Interfases.
On the other hand, the only thing that has mars the perfection of this 3th Edition is that it mention a lot another book (Thinking in Enterprise Java) which hasn't been published yet... not even a draft at Bruce Eckel's website.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still the Best, October 2, 2003
By 
Erik Midtskogen "Java Nut" (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Thinking in Java: The Definitive Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming in the Language of the World-Wide Web, 3rd Edition (Paperback)
I love and have bought this book for all the reasons I loved (and bought) the first two editions, and I appreciate the expanded coverage and extra refinement of the new one.
I won't repeat at length what I said about the first two editions, but I will simply say that this book's title is very appropriate. It isn't just about how to do this or that in Java, but about a new philosophy of OOP as a form of communication. This way of thinking of things leads to methodologies--such as the Design Patterns movement--that are far more successful at dealing with complex and dynamic systems than the more simplistic and direct approaches taken by most previous languages and methodologies.
I won't say that Thinking In Java is quick and easy reading or that most readers will get everything the first time through. I've followed the three editions through, exercises and all, a total of five times now, and I was still learning new stuff the last time through. This is no fault of the book. Learning Java is like learning chess. The rules may be relatively simple, but the implications of those rules are very rich in interesting possibilities, and also potentially very complex. It is to the credit of this book that it provides an intellectual path to this infinite universe of power and complexity for non-genius workaday programmers such as myself.
Some other posters have complained that it takes too long to learn how to do some particular concrete task, or there isn't enough sample code to cut and paste into their projects, or that there aren't enough pretty pictures to guide them through how to do stuff. Thinking In Java is not a cookbook. It will do nothing to help the drag-and-drop scripting crowd that approaches the craft of programming as an exercise in cobbling together ready-made bits of code without bothering to understand how anything they are using actually works. It is doubtful that such people will ever understand and appreciate this book or the Java language itself, for that matter. I would suggest they they stick with Visual Basic until they have the time to devote to learning Object Oriented Programming, which VB is not.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very Good book with some flaws, August 23, 2005
This review is from: Thinking in Java: The Definitive Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming in the Language of the World-Wide Web, 3rd Edition (Paperback)
This book does an excellent job of introducing reader to the concepts and intricacies of Java language. The author shows deep understanding of language, and communicates in a clear and conversational way. However, I would have liked to see more diagrams in this book. Of all the Java books on planet, this one probably has the least number of diagrams, which in my opinion, is not a good thing as many people, including me, are spatial learners and understand things much better through illustrations. The biggest problem I had was that the chapter on GUI does not have even a single diagram or picture, which made it very difficult for me to visualize many things.

Other than this single aspect, the book is great. It is interesting to read, has big size font, and the examples and exercises are focussed on language concepts rather than fancy stuff.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars thought provoking, June 3, 2003
By 
uniq "uniq" (El Dorado Hills, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Thinking in Java: The Definitive Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming in the Language of the World-Wide Web, 3rd Edition (Paperback)
At first impression this book is for the beginners. Just read the chapter
names: Introduction to Objects, Controlling Program Flow, Polymorphism. But
when you dig deeper, you find non-trivial details and unique views on the subject.
This book looks at the Java language and its main features and facilities from many
different angles, and many of its points are refreshing. What's more
remarkable is that the author does not dump on you intrinsic details as if
preparing you for the Java topics on Jeopardy, as some authors do. Bruce
Eckel finds pearls in common features and gives you just enough details to make
a point. This is a very clear, thought provoking, and useful book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Concepts and specifics explained well, January 5, 2003
By 
Bob Nelson (Frisco, TX United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Thinking in Java: The Definitive Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming in the Language of the World-Wide Web, 3rd Edition (Paperback)
Bruce Eckel has found the model to produce a near-perfect book. The evolutionary approach of "publishing" on the web with the "release early and often" open source paradigm has served well. Indeed, this is a wonderful example of stepwise refinement.
As a longtime programmer, getting re-acquainted with Java, Eckel is able to fuse conceptual theory with practical examples. The code is just the right nugget size to make each example fully understandable. His writing style is professional, authoritative yet doesn't suffer from condescension. In addition, the "simpletest.Test" class is a welcome bonus that can be leveraged for unit testing in real-world applications.
My only criticism involves the presentation in hard-copy form. Perhaps because he used MS Word XP, some of the characters weren't rendered properly in the camera-ready pages he provided to Prentice-Hall. (See the table at the top of page 87 for an example). That aside, this is a a must-have in your Java library.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece in progress, September 13, 2003
This review is from: Thinking in Java: The Definitive Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming in the Language of the World-Wide Web, 3rd Edition (Paperback)
This book should be considered a part of the Java documentation. I call it a masterpiece in progress. I've read (and bought) all three versions and followed each phase (alpha, beta and final to press) of the book that has come out and I'm still not tired of going through it another time and read the updates. Each version gets better and better and more complete. It is the sort of book that a person would want to keep up to date. TIJ has that combination of style and attitude that make it just right for a relaxing read.
If there is one book on Java that I always recommend it's TIJ. This book is a must for any shelf no matter if the programmer is a newbie or a guru. The completeness and style of the book is a testimony to why each version that comes out keeps receiving kudos from so many people throughout the Java industry. Not kudos for just one version of TIJ but for all of the versions. It's the attitude of book that makes a person want to roll up their sleeves and help out with the next version.
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