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Embarking on learning Java

 
Greenhorn
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Hi All,
Just thought I’d say hi, I’m Dave from Scotland, U.K. and I’m just about to post over in the beginner’s section in the hope for some assistance on my Java Foundations course.  First post on here and I’m currently doing a distance learning HNC in Computing and have been asked to complete the Oracle Academy Java Foundations course (alongside the NetBeans application) as part of the introduction to software module.  
I have now completed three modules so far in my computing course but have hit a bit of a stall with learning Java, which is made even more arduous having to glean understanding from online slides which I find don’t generally explain what is being asked so well.  I’m on the 4th Section and I’m finding it challenging to say the least but not allowing myself to throw in the towel...   hope everyone out there is having fun on their Java journey!
 
Marshal
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Welcome to the Ranch

We do our best to try and explain things, but it would be good to know what you are having difficulty with. Post a question on this forum.
 
Sheriff
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Welcome to the Ranch!

There are many sources of information online and there's little reason for you to rely solely on your official course material. I suggest you check out the Official Java Tutorial. Go to your local library and borrow some beginner-level books on Java. While you're there, see if you can find good introductory book on programming in general.  I like Think Like a Programmer: An Introduction to Creative Problem Solving by V. Anton Spraul. It's not in Java but some of the concepts he discusses about problem solving techniques are just as easily applied in Java.

If you're a visual learner, then the Head First Java book by Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates is frequently cited and discussed around here. I personally like Bruce Eckel's "Thinking in Java" which is a bit dated but still mostly relevant. He also has a newer book On Java 8 which is available for purchase online in the Google Play store.

So, as you can see, there are plenty of options for additional reference material.
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Junilu Lacar wrote:. . . Head First Java book by Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates . . . . I personally like Bruce Eckel's "Thinking in Java" which is a bit dated but still mostly relevant. . . .

Both those books are dated, but I still think HFJ is the best beginner's book, especially for people who are going down the route of cert exams rather than reading for a degree.
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Don't pay ful price for either book; it used to be possible to download an old edition of Thinking in Java free of charge from mindprod.com or some similar website.
 
Ranch Hand
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Hello David,

This online book has proven to be a valuable resource to me:

http://math.hws.edu/javanotes/

 
Campbell Ritchie
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Mano Ag wrote: . . . This online book . . .

Where does that book teach object orientation?
 
Mano Ag
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Campbell Ritchie wrote:Where does that book teach object orientation?



http://math.hws.edu/javanotes/c5/index.html
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Afraid I wasn't impressed by that chapter, which I have just read, and I read part of it last night. It reads as if the writer expected the readers already to know about object orientation, not like a beginning tutorial.
 
Junilu Lacar
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Considering it was the fifth chapter and a number of basic programming concepts had been already been introduced in previous chapters, I thought the discussion about objects wasn't bad. I didn't get the impression that prior knowledge about object-orientation was assumed. I was a bit disappointed that the author used Math.random() instead of java.util.Random. In fact, that would have been a good opportunity to give an example of the difference between a procedural subroutine vs. an object method.

Edit: Spoke too soon. Actually, he does talk about java.util.Random in section 5.3
 
Campbell Ritchie
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He says that some people don't like setXXX methods. He introduced the bean pattern without explaining about encapsulation or data hiding. The first code example shows fields with public access. All things which will confuse beginners.
 
Junilu Lacar
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The discussion is a bit disorganized. He dives down into details like heap and memory management when it probably would have been better to expound on more high level concepts and giving context to why you'd want to take an object-oriented perspective versus a procedural one.
 
Campbell Ritchie
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After spending four chapters teaching beginners how to write procedural code. . . . I know some people go from procedural code to object code as ducks take to water, but other people find great difficulty in making that leap.
 
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