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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clearly written, thorough introduction to Java 7., 11 July 2013
This review is from: Learning Java (Paperback)
Now in it's fourth edition, Learning Java is an introduction to the Java language in just over a thousand pages. The "who should read this book" section states that it is for "computer professionals, students, technical people, and Finnish hackers"; in other words, some previous programming experience is recommended. New programmers might benefit from a gentler introduction to Java, and computer programming more generally, such as How to Think Like a Computer Scientist or Bruce Eckel's Thinking in Java.

The first chapter provides a very nice conceptual overview of the language that even-handedly discusses its strengths and weaknesses. Security features are given pride of place; you can fairly easily compromise the security of a supposedly private class in C or C++ through tricks involving pointers, but Java is designed so that such exploits are not possible. Unlike in C/C++ you don't have any direct access to memory management in Java.

The next chapter then instructs us to install Eclipse and to start hacking together a number of variants on the archetypal `Hello World' application. It's at this point that I normally start to wonder whether I've not bitten off more than I can chew with Java.

I'm very much a novice when it comes to coding in Java, but I consider myself to be a reasonably experienced programmer, having a good working knowledge of Python, JavaScript, PHP and Ruby (in descending order of confidence and competence). I've hitherto tended to avoid Java because of how verbose it is; as a point of comparison, in Python, Hello World is just:

print "Hello World!"

Whereas to achieve the same thing in Java requires us to do all this:

public class HelloWorld {
public static void main( String[] args ) {
System.out.println("Hello World!");

The book can be loosely split into two parts of similar size; the first half, being the first twelve chapters discusses what I would class as the core of the language - the tools that you use to compile applications, the syntax, objects and classes, and so on. For people without experience of an Object Oriented language - and Java forces you to use objects like few other languages - this section doubles up as a crash course in Object Oriented principles.

The second half of the book moves on to wider Java programming applications; there are chapters here on network programming, web programming, the Swing GUI toolkit, XML, the JavaBeans reusable software component system, Applets, and, finally, XML. I'm learning Java with a view to developing Android applications, so I'm not especially interested in the material in the second half at the moment.

The book concludes with a couple of appendices on the Eclipse IDE and the BeanShell interactive Java prompt. These were both very welcome inclusions: Eclipse is an incredibly complicated piece of software that can be pretty overwhelming when you first start using it, so it is a very good thing indeed that the book gives you some pointers.

Having an interactive prompt available makes experimenting with the code and familiarising yourself with the syntax much less painful. Some books with "Learning" in the title only begin to scratch the surface and provide minimal information; I'm pleased to say that this is an exception. A lot of ground is covered here, and the exposition is in general very clear indeed.

In summary, I'd recommend this to anyone who is looking to familiarize themself with Java who already has some familiarity with common concepts in programming; if you don't know what OOP and concurrency/threading are already this book does a good job of explaining them, but if you don't have some prior knowledge of programming jargon you might find this very hard work indeed.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply perfect, 24 July 2013
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This review is from: Learning Java (Paperback)
If you want to master your Java skills or you are ready to learn this powerful programming language I think this is the best book available (I'm a software developer)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Java book., 5 Dec 2014
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This review is from: Learning Java (Kindle Edition)
Best book on programming I've ever bought. Everything is explained in a clear, concise and easy to understand way. You can't go wrong with it.
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Learning Java
Learning Java by Daniel Leuck (Paperback - 5 July 2013)
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