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Having trouble getting started with Java  RSS feed

 
Nicole Donaldson
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Hi everyone!

I have decided that I want to learn Java and I'm VERY serious about it, but I'm having a weird problem. All my life, learning has been very easy for me, I can pick up almost anything very quickly if I really want to, but I'm having a problem learning Java. I have books that say "for dummies", "teach yourself" and etc. but whenever I pick one up and try to learn something, I end up not understanding anything and forgetting everything a split second after I read it. I can't afford college, and I don't know anyone who knows Java. Please don't tell me to start off with an easier programming language because I've tried that and I just lost interest.

Thanks in advance!
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Welcome to the Ranch

Easier languages: there ain't no such thing. The languages are usually quite easy, but programming is itself a very difficult activity.
$64 question: What would you like to program? Far better to make something than read about it; I do not believe you can learn programming from a book.
 
fred rosenberger
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if you are serious about learning programming (and specifically java), then coming here is a good start (of course, I am a little biased). Ask questions. Write code. When you see an example in a book, type it in to your computer, by hand. Don't cut'n'paste it, but type it character by character. You'll make mistakes, but that is a FANTASTIC way to learn. Once you get it to work, try making changes, and get them to work. Don't be afraid to fail.

Programming is hard. But that is sort of what makes it worth doing. If it were easy, why bother?
 
Junilu Lacar
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+1 to what Fred said.

I like the Samuel Beckett quote that Stanislas Wawrinka, winner of the 2014 Australian Open, tattooed on his arm. It says: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
 
Tyson Lindner
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I've found that you really need a mix of three activities:

1. learn about code
2. code
3. socialize

Not necessarily in that order and not necessarily in equal proportion, but you should at least get a healthy dose of each in any given week.
 
Nicole Donaldson
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+1 to everybody's answers!

Sorry I chose a bad topic name.

Campbell Ritchie,

What I really want to program is Android apps and games. When I say games, I mean the simpler kind, not the fancy 3D kind. I love the sound of learning by doing, how do you suggest I go about this? By the way, I have never learned a programming language before, not even BASIC.

fred rosenberger,

I always type it, I don't ever copy and paste. Though it would be pretty funny if someone tried to copy and paste from a paper book. ;)
I'll definitely be posting questions frequently, but I guess I just don't know where to start right now.

Tyson Linder,

I am trying to learn and code, I guess I just keep getting headaches. By the way, I am socializing, I'm on a forum! (I'm a major introvert.)

Can someone help me figure out where to start?
 
Junilu Lacar
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If you've never programmed before, I suggest you start with learning the language basics before you attempt to move to a platform like Android. There's a lot to get confused with programming for a "regular" environment as it is. The traditional first program to attempt to write is a simple "Hello, world!" program - one that simply displays the message "Hello, world!" when you run it. Have you tried doing that?
 
Nicole Donaldson
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Help me, I'm drowning in answers! Haha..

I am trying to learn the basics before I move onto android, I'm just really excited about making my own apps. Yes, I have done the hello world program, it's when the book starts explaining how it works that I start to get a headache.
 
fred rosenberger
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Many books have links where you can download/import all the source code. also, there are many online tutorials. so cut'n'past is often an option, although perhaps not in your case.

One stumbling block many people have (myself included) is they try to understand too much too fast. One of the advantages of a high level programming language is that many of the details are hidden from you. It may be that you don't need to know everything right now.

But the best way to find out is to ask. Where do you get lost? What is the book saying that confuses you? I guarantee that you are not the first person to have those questions, and people around here love to answer questions, so you are in a good place.

 
Nicole Donaldson
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Fred,

Sorry it took me so long to respond. I do know about the URLs in the books, I just like to joke. What I'm having a hard time with is understanding classes and identifiers and public static void main and etc. I do understand them a little bit, but I can't seem to figure out how they get put together and why. I'm basically just typing the code in the books and not understanding it.
 
Jesper de Jong
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Make sure you understand the basics first, before you start working with larger, complete programs.

Just typing in code that you see in a book and following the instructions to compile and run it isn't going to make you understand Java.

Oracle's Java Tutorials are a good place to learn about the basics. Make sure to follow at least the tutorials under "Trails Covering the Basics" listed on that page. Practice by writing your own little programs, instead of just copying programs from books. Make sure you understand what everything in your program means.

If you have a good grasp of the basics, have a look at the more advanced programs that you see in books. Make sure that you understand what the purpose is of every line in the program.

Don't try to learn too much too fast, especially if you are totally new to programming.

And, ofcourse, if you have questions, ask them here! And have fun learning Java.
 
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