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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.
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on May 30, 2004
I bought this book as an introduction to Java programming. I found that it offered both general Java programming concepts and Java programming code in just the right measure to make learning the Java language easy (or as easy as learning a new language can be). I strongly recommend this book for beginners.
The examples are clear, relevant and concise. Each example is followed by an explanation of the preceding code segments to ensure that the reader understands all of the example. Where it is necessary to mention a topic before it's time, the author specifically states that the topic will be covered in detail later in the book (with a reference to the chapter). This works well, as it is easier to defer some material until you have a better understanding of the basics.
Since each chapter builds on material learned in previous chapters, I would strongly advise anyone using this book to take the chapters in sequence. It is very tempting to jump to the parts of the book that interests you most, but to do that would make your task of understanding those 'interesting' parts more difficult.
While it is impossible for any author to write a book that satisfies everyone, I think that Ivor Horton has done an excellent job for the scope of this book. He has taken a no nonsense approach to teaching the language, and it pays off for those with sufficient motivation to learn. If you are looking for a laugh-a-minute approach to Java programming, complete with fun examples and pictures, then this is not the book for you. It is not the only book you will need, as it does not (cannot) cover all Java-related topics, but it is a very thorough start.
I certainly learned a lot from this book, and now keep it close at hand for reference.
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on February 12, 2004
I have a previous edition of this book and thought it was a very good guide to learning Java. Is it great? No, but it seems to be the best all encompassing book to learn the fundamentals of the Java libraries. It's one of the best books to teach a Java class with.
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on January 25, 2004
New to Java? Learning it for work? Class? Entertainment? Unless you're new to programming (in which case I recommend Java for Dummies), start with this book. Covers all major programming aspects to get a basic core understanding of java. Since you learned to walk before you learned to run...a good foundation is always essential.
My only gripe with the book is that covers nearly everything at the root of the SDK except for LOGGING. I'm unsure why Wrox / Horton left this important section out...logging is part of the SDK as of release 1.4.X, and crucial to monitor all types of appliations (middle-ware, servlets, javaserver pages).
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on December 25, 2003
I must have a library full of WROX books and by far this is the worst book i have read. The author is dry and confusing to say the least. He uses inapproriate examples which may confuse most beginners and his method of teaching is AWFUL ! WROX made a big mistake allowing this author to write this book.
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on July 28, 2003
In college, I predominantly focused on C++, but the java technology was appealing to me and I decided on this book. Though it contains a good number of pages, the author writes plainly, thus making java easy to comprehend. It starts from the basics (assuming you know nothing) and builds up. The author also explains in sufficient detail. If you are already familiar with an OO language like C++, you'll move through its pages alot faster. Because of its thickness, it covers sufficient topics to get you to the level of a proficient java programmer (e.g. from data types through to threads, exceptions, classes and packages, streams, GUI programming, Java and XML etc). For Java programmer certifcation readers who actually want to learn and not cram before taking the test, its definitely recommended. A good pick even for college freshmen.
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on July 4, 2003
It was overly rated but still is a good book to start with. I'd recommend the Bruce Eckel's "Thinking in Java".
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on June 26, 2003
This is a great intro book for Java. Ivor is a very, and I mean VERY good teacher, having the two most important qualities needed to teach effectively: clarity & patience. You will not find confusing and hasty or "terse" (another word for cryptic)explanations here, but this comes to the price that sometimes
this text will be even "too clear" so you must be the type that
can appreciate a calm, relaxed pace and is not a fan of a "fast & furious" style. My personal opinion is that a little patience
is not a big price to pay to get a solid foundation ... but that is just my idea..
You should also note that this book will teach you the foundations of the language in detail and will touch on some of the APIs (xml, graphics) but it is not going to cover technologies like Servlets, JSP, EJB and with good reason since doing that would be insane in an intro book. Don't worry though, with Classes & Inheritance, Threads , Streams, Collections, Graphics and XML you will have more than enough to digest. To sum it up, do you prefer to learn Java by a young, rampant, hasty, cocky young teacher or from a older, wiser one? Your choice.
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on June 24, 2003
I've been teaching Java at the school of continuing education at our local university for 2 years now. Every term I go through the ritual of trying to find a text book for my class that would be more helpful to my students based on the reaction I get the previous term from them. This book is by far the clearest and most engaging beginner's Java book.
There are other books that are more complete and more thoughts provoking like "Thinking in Java by Bruce Eckle (3rd Edition)". But for a beginner this is the clearest text I've found so far.
I should say that my students are mostly C programmers with extensive experience in software development, so they are not Beginner Programmers, just beginner Java developers.
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on May 31, 2003
The first chapter I read from this book was on threading. It mentioned about stop() method. hm... this method has been deprecated in version 1.4 So I wonder, did they just change the cover of the 1.2 book and make it 1.4? Or, they actually revise the content to reflect this is the new Java version 1.4.
I think it was written before 1.4 release came out. I haven't gone to web site to see if there is an up-to-date information on this; hopefully the author is proactive about this.
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