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Java for Dummies: Java as a first language?  RSS feed

 
Bo Rothwell
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Welcome Barry!  I hope your book is successful and that you enjoyed the process of writing it.

My question relates to newbies who don't know anything about programming.  I'll assume that you feel that Java is a good "first language", but would like to know why you would suggest it over other languages.  Not looking for a direct comparison between specific languages (don't want to start a language war here), but rather your 5 minute "elevator pitch" why you would recommend Java to someone with little to no programming experience.

Thank you,

-Bo Rothwell
 
Barry Burd
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Bo,
I like Java because has a clear approach to object-oriented programming without making the developer worry about implementation details. Some people don't like the fact that Java is verbose, but I like it. I like the (somewhat wordy) structure that surrounds the fundamental ideas. As soon as Java was released, many colleges flocked to Java as a first language for reasons like this. Even more colleges adopted Java when it became the language of the ETS Advanced Placement exam in Computer Science. Java lets you see object-oriented programming principles in an orderly, well-thought-out fashion.
The other thing I really like about Java (not necessarily a first-language issue) is the strict rule about backward compatibility. New versions of Java almost never break legacy programs. I've written seven editions of Java For Dummies and, in all that time, only one of my examples stopped working from one release of Java to the next. (Between Java 5 and Java 6, one method in the java.util.Scanner class changed its behavior because of a bug fix.)
 
It is sorta covered in the JavaRanch Style Guide.
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