Sams Teach Yourself Java 2 in 21 Days, Professional Reference Edition (3rd Edition)

Author: Laura Lemay, Rogers Cadenhead
List Price: $49.99
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ISBN: 0672324555
Publisher: SAMS (24 December, 2002)
Edition: Paperback
Sales Rank: 12,136
Average Customer Rating: 3.49 out of 5

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Customer Reviews

Rating: 4 out of 5
Good Start
I read two other books on Java while preparing for the SCJP. The problem I had with the SCJP books, is that I felt like I still didn't know Java after I read them. This book filled in that gap for me. I wish I had started with this one, because it assumes that you will be writing some progams in Java other than just taking an exam.

This book is broken into 3 primary sections. The first 7 chapters cover the basics including Java concepts, object oriented programming concepts, basic Java, objects, classes, methods, and applets. These chapters provide a good introduction to Java and serve as a foundation for the remaining chapters.

The next 7 chapters primarily cover visual java and programming with Swing including components, containers, user interfaces, and graphics. Threads and sound are also coverd.

The next 7 chapters introduce more advanced (actually intermediate) topics including packages and class features, error handling, streams, object serialization, sockets, JavaBeans, and database connectivity.

The appendicies on configuring the Software Development Kit (SDK) is very helpful to a new programer. There is a good amount of sample code that all runs as designed and compiles without error. The sample code very helpful for grasping the concepts as they are presented.

This book is what it was written to be. It's a solid introduction to Java. It does not cover advanced Java, but it does cover enough to get you started. Those who intend to use Java as a primary programming language would will want to augment this introductory text with other books after these concepts are mastered.

Rating: 5 out of 5
Great Book for C++ Programmers
I would highly recommend this book to those who already know the C/C++ programming language.

The introductory part of the book is short and easy to follow, with detailed instructions on how to set up and install the free Java SDK.

However, as the introduction describes object oriented programming (OOP) right off, and gets a little detailed, it may not be practicle for those who have never programmed before.

The remaining part of the book focuses on the more advanced topics of Java, such as Swing, where the reader works on graphical applications/applets.

All in all, it's a great book, and does a good job teaching you what you need to know in a timely manner.

Rating: 5 out of 5
Much closer to perfect than it is to adequate
One would get very tired lifting all of the beginning Java books currently on the market. The combination of weight and numbers can be overwhelming to someone looking for a book to use in their initial study of the language. As more features are added and considered fundamental, it becomes harder for the author of any book based on a time frame to pick the "essential" topics and cover them in sufficient detail. Therefore, the end result is that all books based on an elapsed time should have the time considered as a guideline rather than as an absolute and that type of book should not be judged too harshly in this area.
With that as a precept, the questions to resolve are threefold.

Did the authors choose the appropriate topics?
Are the starting points in a location appropriate for beginners?
Is the coverage sufficient so that the student will have some significant grasp of Java after they complete the book?

In this case, all the answers are most definitely affirmative. Cadenhead and Lemay begin with the basics of the fundamental data types, expressions and operators. These concepts are then used to construct simple classes, which are then put together to make other classes via inheritance and interface implementation. Classes are then grouped together to make packages, and the implementation details of import and setting the CLASSPATH environment variable are examined. The first week ends with a lesson covering how to work with threads and exceptions.
Week two is devoted to creating GUI interfaces, handling events and drawing objects, with the topic of the final day being the construction and use of applets. Week three is devoted to some additional basic and advanced topics. Day 15 covers input/output, day 16 describes the serialization and inspection of objects, day 17 shows you how to communicate across a network, on day 18 you work with sound, day 19 is an explanation of how to create and use JavaBeans, the coverage of day 20 is how to move data using JDBC and XML and day 21 covers how to write Java servlets and Java Server Pages (JSPs). The coverage of each of these topics is necessarily brief, and the authors do leave a lot of things out. Nevertheless, I am convinced that enough is covered so that the students leave with a basic grasp of how each concept is used to construct programs.
Are there things that I would have done differently? Absolutely! I would have moved the coverage of input/output so that it was embedded inside the other lessons. Once classes and exceptions are covered, then sending data in and out of files can be done by adding only a few lines to programs whose primary purpose is to demonstrate other things. I would have made more effort to explain how threads can be used and abused in Java programs, covering them in a separate chapter.
In conclusion, this is one of the best beginning Java books on the market. No such book is ever perfect, but this one is much closer to perfect than it is to merely adequate.

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