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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2003
I used this book for a beginning Java programming class. I have no idea why they chose this one over the thousands of other possible introductory books available. First of all, it's just poorly written. Here's an example from a section that introduces input dialog boxes:
"There are two components or arguments for the showInputDialog() method, the parent component and the string component. The string component is composed of a string or icon to be displayed in the dialog box. When no parent component is used, the keyword null is substituted."
Well, what the heck is the parent component?? You've said there are two components, you define the first but then only say what happens if you leave out the second.
The book is rife with these sort of inconsistencies and errors. Also, the author uses an annoying method of explaining (such as it is) concepts using code abstracts, then has you type in examples from scratch. She does this using a confusing step by step; type this - put the cursor here - now type this, process. You don't get a clear picture of the entire example until you have typed it all into an editor. Worse, you reuse your previous examples by having to delete sections and input new sections. This is very error prone. Then all she says is "run the program and observe the result".
It would have been much better if she had just listed the entire code example and said "copy this". The space spent in the step by step typing (probably amouts to a good 1/3 of the entire 663 pages) would have been better spent with an explanation of what the code you just typed in did and why.
There is no example code on the CD (or online) like just about every other coding book uses. Granted, I might become a better typist by inputting all the examples myself, but it makes using this text very slow and cumbersome.
Finally, it just doesn't seem like they put a lot of effort into the book. The best they can do to present concepts is code snippets, a few tables and some (small!) screenshots. Not one chart or diagram to illustrate how anything fits together. I counted maybe 6 flowcharts in the section on loops. That's maybe a half-hour's work in Visio... big deal. Granted, a lot of diagrams in tech books are page-filling fluff, but they do occasionally help to summarize a concept.
Avoid this book if you are looking for a text on your own. If you are taking a class using this one, I'd copy all of these poor reviews and forward them to your school and request that they choose another title.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on September 24, 2002
This book has nice stuff to read especially for beginners. BUT there are too many typos and they are in the coding and in the explanation. Tiny typos that make your program not compile. And what you do for an hour is looking for your mistakes. I was confused big time and had to ask programmers to help me out.
Additionally, the way she explains her examples are a little bit confusing. She tears them apart as if they are separate small programs and then at the end she will ask you to write the remaining of the code yourself by following her directions. She won't show the whole program in the book, you have to accurately follow her directions in order to input the information in the right place. I ended up reading the chapter three times and correcting her typos while I was reading. Though my review might not be that good, the book still has some nice things in it. I learnt how to do nice stuff (though I never programmed before) and her typos were as debugging exercises for me. Her Java Programming first edition book, contains less typos and better arrangement of the information. But there are no extra chapters that she added in the second edition.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2010
Like a lot of other reviewers here, I was required to read this book for a beginning Java programming course. At first the book seemed to be ok, but it quickly went downhill. In the programming exercises, the code has little explanation. As someone who has never programmed in Java before, I want to know what each line I'm typing does! I want to know the role that every line has to play in the program. This book does not provide that. Instead, the author tells you exactly what to type to the point of aggravation. "Type two curly braces, put your cursor between them, press Enter". The book would have been far more valuable if they had printed the source code you needed to type in the book, and instead of explaining *what* to type, they should have explained *why* you're typing it.

Also, almost every page in the text has these little shaded sides notes pasted all over the page. Most of the side notes feel like they should have been written in the main body of the text. Instead, they are distracting more than they are helpful.

Overall, this is just one of the most frustrating textbooks I've ever had to work with. I don't a mind a dry text if it makes sense. This text, on the other hand, was confusing and frustrating. I ended up buying a different textbook to read for the class to try and make sense of this one. As soon as I started reading something else, Java wasn't as hard and frustrating as this book makes it. Of all the textbooks out there, I have no idea why my school chose this one. AVOID IT!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 1, 2003
I am required to use this book for an introductory Java Programming course. This is the worst text book I have ever used. It is poorly written and filled with errors. The examples, exercises, quizzes and tests are filled with ambiguities. We are in the process of trying to get this book out of the curriculum so that those taking this course in the future will not have to use this garbage.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2004
First off... I am not a natural programmer. 70% of the class I am in are. Let it be known that I am not dumb either. I graduated with my first college degree in Biotechnology Magna Cum Laude. That's a 3.78 gpa for me, and pretty good for those who don't know the term. At least half of the students in your class already know how and why these programs work and function. That is where this book totally falls apart. I approach everything as a scientist would. I have to know the how, but more importantly the "WHY" and the thought process behind each new idea. Why do we set up the program this way? What is the reason for jumping around back and forth in every chapter??? She leads us through the exercises by the nose, but never shows the whole code or comments about the program as a whole.
She never goes through the following: This section of code will do this, we need a section to do that and a section to do this other thing. This feeds off that... etc.. What it totally misses is that logic involved with programming. When a problem is put forth, you stop and think about it. You lay out what this program needs to do. List all the variables you'll need, etc. Get the sections of programming ideas down, then start turning them into code.

This book ignores this thought process completely. I'm no slouch either. The exercises tell you to place your cursor here in the method of the class of the main... (if you can find it... there's no actual code listed in its entirety so good luck)
press enter... okay, now type this... Why??? Who knows, she never tells you why you want to place this little piece of code in this other part of the program... Then, you go to a totally different part of the program and type this... little snippet of codeWhy??? Who knows. You know what the individual line of code will do, but not WHY you put it in this particular part of the program. What makes it worse is half the time you're looking at the sections of code she had you make and you think to yourself, 'Self, What was she thinking, I wouldn't make it like that, who places code in that order?' What's the thought process behind these chunks of code?

If real programmers make their programs the way she takes you through them I gaurantee they'd all kill themselves by the age of 30.

At times you'll bounce around so much, you will go bonkers, I'm telling you.

I am learning more from the Java for Dummies books than I did in a class with an actual professor using this horrible book. Bring a different book to class, use the different book. If the programs your instructor wants you to write don't have to be done using this book, then, don't get it. Or at least get it but get another book and read them both. Trust me, it sounds like more work, but it's acually a lot less work as you won't waste hundreds of hours interpreting this confusing book.

I wonder if she made it confusing to maintain her own Job Security...

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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2003
I'm taking a programming class that requires this book. I've taken one other class where the text was also a Joyce Farrell book and that book was just as hard to follow as Java Programming Second Edition.
The problems with this book are that it's not written in laymen's terms. The prologue indicates that the book was written for someone that has no prior programming experience and no higher math than high-school math. However, the programming examples require a good knowledge of programming structure and syntax or a first timer simply will not be able to follow the examples.
The programs are not written out for you. The author gives you step-by-step examples to follow and expects you to type them in. An example of this is, "Place the insertion point directly to the right of the main brackets and press enter." This would be great if the author had explained what the main brackets are.
There's another example in the book where the author has you create an object but never tells you where to create it. She gives the instructions for every other part of the program except where the object is supposed to go.
This book will leave you very frustrated.
I should also mention that in my class of 20 students all of us are very frustrated and fed-up with this book. We have all complained to our instructor and he is making accommodations so that we wont have to rely on the text as much for our instruction, but if a student misses class I guess they're out of luck.
We have gone to our department chair asking him to replace this text. He refuses to. He likes it. So maybe there is some merit to it. I have yet to find it.
On a related note, I'm also taking a C++ class (C++ is supposed to be more difficult to understand than Java) and I'm able to understand the structure and syntax of C++ without any problem.
public class GetAnotherBook
public static void main(String[] args)
System.out.println("Don't buy this book");
Well, that's my review. Just don't get stuck in a class where they use this text. Please let me know if there is something I can recommend to my school other than this waste of tree fiber.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2010
I am just finishing the 4th chapter of this book and it is a miserable experience. I feel like I'm learning to program from someone who loves to write books and hates to write programs. Soo much reading so little learning. What a freaking waste of time.

If you get this book then you should also purchase Advil.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on October 17, 2002
I totally agree with the first review here. This book was so terribly wriiten that I felt liking screaming every time I tried to code the examples following her instructions. If she had put together complete programs instead of tearing them apart, this book would have been just half thick, and would have saved readers a lot of time (and probably some money). It does not even worth one star for the rating.
I bought this book because we're using its first edition as textbook. Since the 2nd edition uses the newer JDK and covers more materials, I figured it would make more sense to buy the new edition. I mail ordered the book without browsing it first (it was not available in the bookstores close to my home). Now I really regret it. DO NOT MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE AS MINE. Invest your money somewhere else.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2003
Filled with errors. Technical, grammatical, structural--you name the problem, this book has it. I tutor programming students and I've seen many different texts. This book is terrible.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 3, 2003
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