Top positive review
Clear, well-written, and comprehensive
on June 9, 2004
While the voluminous nature of Horton's introduction may scare away a Java beginner, they should know that there is no better introduction to the language and the library. Horton uses visual aids whenever it brings added clarity to a situation, and spends just the right amount of time in each chapter on preliminary text-book style writing before throwing any Try-it-out programs at you. Like all Wrox books, if you don't understand how the code works, there's a short explanation of the syntax and classes involved following each example.
The book teaches Java from the ground-up - starting with object orientation and basic language syntax. These first few chapters are solid explanatory.
Next, the chapters on classes, inheritance, and exception handling describe the more advanced language concepts with just as much clarity as the more elementary information.
The core library features are given attention and a large portion of the book is devoted to GUIs and drawing. I have never seen a more in depth and yet understandable guide that doesn't assume prior knowledge of the concepts. Additionally, Horton only uses the newest and most robust methods of doing things when there's a choice; for example, he opts to use the New I/O API rather than the old file input and output streams, but still gives you an explanation and example of how the basic streams work before bringing in the new material.
I cannot recommend this book more for someone who wants to learn Java. The only requirement is some free time and devotion. Even if you don't intend to read the entire thing, the first 10 chapters alone are worth it.