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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good book BUT . . ., 6 May 2013
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This review is from: Java For Dummies (Paperback)
. . . if you take it in isolation, it isn't going to teach you have to use java. I had to learn java from scratch very quickly for a university project and this book seemed a good way to get a gentle introduction. What actually happened was that I read the first few sections, which go through downloading java (which wasn't relevant to me at the time as I was using the university system. However I have since installed Eclipse on my laptop for my own use and the download instructions provided on the book's website are very good) and the history of java. There are then sections explaining the basics - variables, fields, classes, methods etc etc - which are backed up with plenty of well explained examples. The problem is that short of typing out the example programs verbatim, the book doesn't provide any way to try out programming yourself. I actually gave up on it for a couple of weeks until I'd got a grasp on the very basics of the java syntax, and had written a few short programs of my own. After that, I came back to the book and once I had a basic understanding, it became very useful, because it goes into a lot of detail about the many subtleties of the language that can trip you up and cause all sorts of compiling errors (although you do have to read the book page to page to pick all these up). It also doesn't assume that you're working from an IDE, and provides information on using java from the command line, again very useful. So I'd defnitely recommend this book, but I'd also suggest finding some very simple java tutorials online/ wherever to let you test out the very basics first. I guess if you think of it as learning any other language - you won't learn French from just reading verb tables and a dictionary, you have to find your feet by speaking a little bit as well.
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