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Headfirst Java

 
Douglas Knapp
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This book was well received by y'all hear at the Ranch. The copy I've laid my hands on is relevant to 1.5. Do you think it's still a good place to start?
 
Mansukhdeep Thind
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Yes, why not. I learned it from 1.6 though. But I don't believe that for a learner it matters as much. Releases of the language differ from each other by a few features / enhancements like new interfaces / packages might be introduced or some semantic changes to make things more convenient for the developers. For example, prior to Java 5 you needed the Iterator to loop through the elements of an array or a Collection. From 1.5, you have the for:each construct at your disposal which prevents clutter and is neater. But to start off, I think 5 is fine.
 
Douglas Knapp
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Thank you, Mansukh.

I've been trying to learn Java for a while now, but my ADD keeps kicking my butt. I think I'm going to like the style of this book.
 
Mansukhdeep Thind
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You are always welcome Doug. What is your ADD?
 
Douglas Knapp
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ADD stands for Attention Deficit Disorder. I have issues focusing. That's why I think that Head First Java will be good. It doesn't just throw words at you, it uses graphics, and humor.
 
Mansukhdeep Thind
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I am not so good with slangs, short forms. Thanks for the info.
 
Lalit Mehra
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Hi Douglas,

You can always learn new things once you get started with something so don't bother which version you have in your hand for now, just read it and enter the beautiful world of java.
And we are all here to help you out if you get stuck somewhere.

And yes head first is a great book and it will get well with your ADD too

 
Douglas Knapp
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Thanks, Lalit. Don't worry, if I have questions, I'll ask.
 
Winston Gutkowski
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Douglas Knapp wrote:ADD stands for Attention Deficit Disorder. I have issues focusing. That's why I think that Head First Java will be good. It doesn't just throw words at you, it uses graphics, and humor.

And if that works for you, that's great. As I recall, the book is also quite skillfully arranged, so you can take it in bite (or byte) size chunks.

The really important thing is to do the exercises, because that's what'll get you familiar with the business of programming. I'm not sure what techniques you use to help with your ADD, but the following might help:

  • Set yourself a target for each "chunk" you do; say 10 pages, or half an hour. A whole chapter may be a bit daunting, especially as they get more involved.
  • Keep a notebook, and write down the main points of what you've read. Also, if something finally "clicks", write it down. I still do this when I'm reading new or complex stuff, and I've been at this lark for more than 35 years.
  • (most important) As I said above: Do the exercises. All of them. If you find yourself flagging, stop, and complete them the next time you pick up the book; or simply tackle them one at a time.

  • And if you get stuck on something: talk to someone, or come here and explain what you're having trouble with. It's a normal part of the learning process, and those exercises are designed to challenge you, so don't think of it as failure.

    Finally: Even in 2013, computers and compilers are STUPID. They do exactly what you tell them to, and getting even one letter wrong can cause errors - or, even worse, not cause errors, but do something quite different from what you were expecting.

    Java is case-sensitive, so Long and long are NOT the same thing, but both are legal; so be very careful when you're writing code.
    Also: when you're coding, don't write more than a few lines without compiling it. It's tedious, but it'll stop you having to plough through reams of compiler errors.

    HIH; and good luck.

    Winston
     
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