The author is an experienced college teacher, and the book's effective presentation style is arguably its major strength. Early chapters rely on simple mathematical examples (such as converting temperatures from Fahrenheit to Celsius, or averaging grades). Other examples look at parsing social security numbers or storing entries from a telephone book. Java Programming does a good job of presenting the basics of object-oriented design in terms of both designing custom classes and taking advantage of existing Java classes, such as String, StringBuffer, and Vector objects. Of course, along the way, the basics of Java syntax are covered, including many of its keywords, operators, and data types.
Although it's suitable for a college classroom, this textbook is never academic or dull. The colloquial and friendly writing style presents the essentials of Java without ever getting bogged down in theory. Besides command-line programs, you'll learn also how to do basic graphics in Java, and even play simple games (like blackjack). The custom classes that are presented in this book make it simpler to work with Java, even for beginners. Every chapter provides extensive review summaries of the important points that are demonstrated in each section, as well as a handful of exercises that'll let you try out material on your own.
Now that Java is used routinely as a first programming language in many colleges, Java Programming from the Beginning fills a useful niche. It's also an excellent home-study choice for the reader who appreciates a patient and thorough teaching style. --Richard Dragan
From the Author
If you're searching for a book that covers all the trendy new Java features, you'll need to look elsewhere. If you want a book that's broad but shallow, you've come to the wrong place. But if you're interested in learning the fundamentals of Java and of programming in general, welcome home.
I've tried to explain Java in clear, simple language, using plenty of interesting programs to illustrate the features of the language. I've avoided using a "cookbook" approach: the emphasis is on understanding, not merely imitating.
Although "Java Programming: From the Beginning" is for the novice, it isn't one of those watered-down "dummies" books. It assumes that the reader is an intelligent person who simply lacks programming experience. If "gentle but thorough" didn't sound so much like a laxative slogan, it would be the perfect description for this book. Starting from the beginning, it covers all the fundamental knowledge that a Java programmer needs.
Each chapter of "Java Programming: From the Beginning" ends with a Q&A section--a series of questions and answers related to material covered in the chapter. Other key features include:
* Style tips
* Design tips
* Debugging sections
* Case studies
* Nearly 400 review questions (with answers provided) and 200 exercises
* Over 130 programming projects
For more information about "Java Programming: From the Beginning," please visit the author's Web site (knking.com).