Beginning Programming (Wrox Beginning Guides) Paperback – 15 Apr 2005
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A welcome addition to Wrox s Beginning series and a good all–round introduction to programming for novices. ( Publishing News, 25th March 2005)
From the Back Cover
A common misconception about programming is that it can only be done on a professional level by someone with years of experience. This book proves exactly the opposite and provides nonprogrammers with assistance in learning the programming basics that will enable them to eventually become professional developers or programming hobbyists.
What you will learn from this book
- How computers read, store, and process code
- The various essential tools necessary to become an effective programmer
- Key concepts in programming that are consistent from one programming language to another
- How to create, modify, and delete files and folders
- Best techniques for making your applications easy to use
- How text editors, compilers, and other utilities make coding easier
This book is for novices who want to learn to program but have little or no programming knowledge or experience.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Obviously, as it isn't language specific it has limitations: while it will teach you the basic concepts you will need something more specific to really learn a language in depth.
Without this book I would still be wandering around wondering what the terminology in all those big scary books means. This is a great introduction, and I highly recommend it for the complete beginner. For anyone with some knowledge of the subject, I would suggest skiping this and getting stuck into your chosen language.
1) Halfway through the book either the proof reader went on holiday or the author was in a rush to complete the text so they didn't bother using spellcheck or re-reading what they had written. The typos and grammatical errors come thick and fast and really got annoying at one stage
2) In certain areas of the book, you are given a series of snippets of code and asked to see if you can spot the deliberate errors, yet nowhere in the book does it tell you what those actual errors are. This is really inconsistent as where they demonstrate errors it is clearly laid out.
It's a crying shame as the book was really well written and I must confess to actually enjoying it and reading it in less than a week (very unusual for me). The writing style is not at all geeky and the author genuinely achieves the goal of making a very dry topic very interesting to read.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Finally, as the authors point out, after you learn one language you know enough about the general structure of programming to be readily able to move to another language. After a couple of weeks working with this book, you could move up to another language in probably a couple of days.
This is indeed the simple way to get started in programming. I wish I'd had it when I started forty something years ago.
Shame on Borland for providing a compiler that was apparently never beta tested on XP(!), and shame on Wrox for failing to provide adequate instructions. There are a few answers of varying quality and coherance on their forum, but you shouldn't have to resort to the forum to run the very first compiled program in the book.
If you aren't familiar with how a compiler works BEFORE reading this book, you are likely to run aground sometime around Chapter 7. Save your money.
I'm a bit disappointed with this one, then, because, although it is wonderfully informative and useful, it just doesn't have that same no-nonsense zing that my first did. The book does exactly what it says: gives a good, solid introduction to programming for the beginner. It does its best at instilling enough foundation to create a future programmer who will instinctively follow best practices (drilling in basic concepts like binary, so presumably people won't do dumb things later on like allowing buffer overflows because they can't count). It introduces operators before it ever tells the student to start coding. All in all, it's a gentle, easy to grasp guide to the fundamentals of programming that anyone can understand.
So why the mild disappointment? The main downside to the book in my opinion is that they lean towards dumbing things down -too- much, at least on occasion. A couple of quintessential examples that come to mind early on are:
1) Figure 4.9 - a ridiculous icon of a computer with a magnifying glass in front of it. This is intended to show you "how data is stored in memory." About half the images in the book are completely useless in this regard.
2) Sentences like "Notice that in sci-fi... humans interface with computers and robots using spoken language? Being able to do that now would be sweet!"
Easy is an admirable trait in a book of this sort. Stupid is not. That said, I think the ease and usefulness overall outweigh the occasional absurdity, and I would recommend it to someone who has either had no programming or has tried it but finds themselves totally baffled by it (and who can generally override their innate gag reflex). It does what it says, and for that I suppose it deserves a hearty 4 stars. I just don't have the heart to give it that fifth one.
There are not many books targeting readers with absolutely no previous knowledge of programming, wanting to learn the very basics before moving on to an introduction course or book using one specific programming language. 'Beginning Programming' fills the gap nicely.
In the following section authors Katie and Adrian Kingsley-Hughes move on to meticulously teaching the fundamentals of computers and machine language, coding, number systems, interfaces and tools required for a programmer. The paragraphs on the importance of picking a good chair and keyboard (!) illustrate just how deeply their book delves into detail.
Describing problem solving, compiling and debugging, file and registry interaction is done, before wrapping the book up with a great section on programming from problem identification to the distributed product. The brief appendixes provide a glossary and information on further resources, and how to obtain every needed kind of tool.
What I most appreciated while reading 'Beginning Programming', was that the authors took time to introduce the fundamentals before moving on to actual coding (which was very simple). Coding is not introduced until half way into the book. It is sad colleges and universities do not allow students to acquire a thorough grasp of the basics, but dive straight into learning the first programming language. Students would benefit from starting off with a book like this.
On the down side, 'Beginning Programming' does not mention the important subject of object oriented programming at all, and the description of graphic user interfaces is just too short, not even showing code samples. I missed a demonstration of tools like NetBeans or MS Visual Studio Express Edition (both are free). Also, the publishers have not bothered to proof read the book properly. Language is sub standard, and the errata is a wee bit long.