Win a copy of Functional Reactive Programming this week in the Other Languages forum!
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Hi John and welcome to the Ranch

 
Dave Vick
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Everyone please join Cindy and I in extending a warm welcome to John Smiley author of this weeks book giveaway Learn to Program with Java. John will be here through-out the week answering your questions and passing on his knowledge to eveyone here.
 
Cindy Glass
"The Hood"
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Welcome, John.
We hope to have alot of fun working with you this week. Anything that you want to tell us about your book?
 
Arathi Rajashekar
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Hi,
Will you tell something about your book. What are the contents of the book. How will it help beginners.
Thank you
Arathi
 
John Smiley
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Hi Folks
First, I'd like to thank JavaRanch for this wonderful opportunity to meet with the Java community---words cannot adequately express how much I think of the JavaRanch site and the community it fosters--particularly the beginner level audience that I write for.
I'll be posting some links I have set up that will tell you a bit more about my book, including a table of contents.
I'll also be checking in a few times each day from now through Friday if you have any questions for me.
John Smiley
 
Sandy Schneider
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I have noticed a lot of beginner Java books referencing C++. I do not know C++ nor do I want to at this time. I want to concentrate on Java at this time.
Does your book reference alot of C++?
 
John Smiley
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Hi Sandy
Thanks for your question!
I don't mention C++ at all in my book---I presume NO prior knowledge of any computer programming language.
Trying to determine the rationale behind an author's approach to writing a 'beginner' programming book can be difficult, but I've found over the last four years that about half of the beginner's book presume that you already know a programming language to begin with--sounds like the one you are alluding to probably did that with C++.
There are reasons that authors do this--primarily, it absolves them of the responsiblity to cover true introductory material (such as explaining what a loop is and why you would do it), which inflates the size of the book, and limits their ability to cover more advanced material.
As for me, I love teaching the fundamentals, and would rather be criticized for having my books be 'too' elementary rather than start from the premise that the reader already knows a language.
John Smiley
 
Dirk Schreckmann
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Originally posted by John Smiley:
As for me, I love teaching the fundamentals, and would rather be criticized for having my books be 'too' elementary rather than start from the premise that the reader already knows a language.

Excellent! We beginners need more teachers and authors with this attitude.
Thanks John.
 
Thomas Paul
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I think there are places for both kind of books in the marketplace. Ivor Horton's book, for example, is aimed more at a person with prior programming experience. I think a pure programming novice would find it very difficult to get through that book.
 
Corey McGlone
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
I think there are places for both kind of books in the marketplace. Ivor Horton's book, for example, is aimed more at a person with prior programming experience. I think a pure programming novice would find it very difficult to get through that book.

By the same token, someone with a good deal of programming experience (although not in Java), might find something very basic painful and slow.
Definitely, there is room, and a need, for both approaches in the marketplace.
 
Sal Velinus
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Most books I've seen that reference other languages do so mostly to point out the differences between similar parts of the languages. If you don't know the other language, you can usually ignore that part.
There's also a difference between books more obviously designed as textbooks (e.g., most Deitel books)and books that are intended for a more general audience, even though they may make fine textbooks as well.
Of course, there's hundreds or thousands of programming books I haven't read, so maybe the problem is more widespread than I've seen.
 
David Weitzman
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John, your last name is cool enough that I'm going to be forced to refer to you as John , okay?
 
Gerry Giese
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John,
One thing I did not see on the Amazon link was what JDK you're using. Considering some of the changes in 1.4 over the older ones, such as the New I/O, would it be better to avoid even trying to learn the "old" stuff?
 
David Weitzman
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You'll never get away with trying not to learn the 'old' (or less new) IO classes. New IO is more of a complement to normal IO than a replacement. Even if you ignore the fact that new IO makes simple tasks harder, there are hundreds of very popular API that are based on streams (things like XML parsers and Servlets/JSP)
 
John Smiley
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Hi Gerry
I wrote the book using the Java SDK 1.3--which was the latest at the time.
The great thing about writing an introductory book that really covers the basics is that you are seldom 'burnt' by revisions to the product.
Although 1.4 is an advance over 1.3, my book is still a good pick for you.
John Smiley
 
Arathi Rajashekar
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Hi John,
Is your book entirely for beginners or what. Does it even cover threads,GUI etc. If it covers lot of basic, will it be helpful for certification.
Thank you
arathimr@hotmail.com
 
John Smiley
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Hi Arathi
Although I teach advanced topics at the university, my vocation is primarily teaching and writing for beginners--those folks likely to give up in the early stages of learning what can be an incredibly rewarding and valuable skill.
As a result, my book is aimed primarily at beginners----someone who needs to know not only what a loop is and how it is constructed in Java, but why you would use one in the first place.
My last two chapters are devoted to the construction of a GUI using Swing components.
As far as Java Certification, I consider my book a first step.
John Smiley
 
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