Most helpful critical review
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
A confusing book
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.