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  1. #1
    silverglade is offline Senior Member
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    Default My Java book saga-3 books reviewed

    Hi, ok here is my "saga" or long epic story made short about my java books I bought and how they were, reviewed. I hope this can help other newbies decide what book to buy.

    First I bought "Head First Java", 2nd Edition by Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates and I thought it was great, until I bought "Thinking in Java" by Bruce Eckel. "Thinking in Java" was MUCH more organized and showed completed full code, instead of the choppy code pieces that "Head First Java" with tons of pictures and comments . You would think that "Head First Java" would be the better book because it has so many pictures and comments along with the code, but it was so scrambled and "picturey" that it actually made less sense and was less coherent as a whole.

    When I looked at "Thinking in Java" it was awesome. It was clear, gave all the output of the code, explained all the code, didn't baby me, and has more pages, I think 1400 even thought Amazon says only about 1100 I think. The only problem I have with "Thinking in Java" is that on some occasions the author puts in little pieces of code that he does not explain prior to putting it in. THIS IS VERY frustrating and causes me to have to ask questions on the forum, which I try to minimize.

    Then I bought (I am not rich LOL, buy used from Amazon) "Java Software Solutions" by Lewis & Loftus, thank you to SUNDE887!!!! to the rescue again! This book is AWESOME, has about 880 pages so it is substantial to learn from, gives you a history of computers and software (which I already knew but valued), and then takes you through all the important parts of the language, as far as I could tell, except for "concurrency" I think. But this book has TONS of VERY easy exercises ("Thinking in Java" does too, but not as simple maybe or not as incremental, possibly, not sure). So, tons of great exercises in each chapter, and VERY SIMPLE FORMAT WELL ORGANIZED AND LOGICAL!!!

    So all I have to say is, I would think it best to buy all of these 3 books and read each one, because each one has a different learning style that may suit you, or one book might have some things that another book doesn't cover.

    The order I think you should try them out in my opinion should be

    1-Try "Head First Java", then try
    2-"Thinking in Java" then try (the second best)
    3-"Java Software Solutions" (the best book in my review)

    There is a 4th book I ordered that has not come yet. It is called "Effective Java 2nd Edition". I will try to remember to review it after I get it. I think a combination of these 4 books (GET THEM USED) is your best bet to "self teaching" yourself Java. AND OF COURSE .......THIS AWESOME WEBSITE and the people on it.


    DerekDD

    PS: I forgot to mention, "Java Software Solutions" is in color, and everything is color coded which makes it great and easy to read!
    Last edited by silverglade; 05-09-2011 at 09:36 PM.

  2. #2
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    sunde887 is offline Moderator
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    Effective Java is supposed to be one of the best books there is. I have not read it, but I plan to purchase it and TAOCP 1-3 very soon. I mostly agree with your ranking and thoughts. It is important to read all three(if you are motivated to really learn the language).

    I have a hard time ranking all 3 in a clear cut order. I love Head First Java because it jokes, and teaches in a relaxed manner. It definitely over simplifies things at time. The book doesn't really show a lot of full examples, instead it shows little snippets that show an idea. My biggest problem is the lack of exercises.

    Thinking in Java is good as well, it's lengthy, with lot's of examples. He covers a lot of things in great detail, but sometimes it felt like(remember I read this when I was fairly inexperienced with java) he was talking to someone who already knew a lot of java. The other thing I didn't really like is that the exercises were mediocre at best. Too much(prove that this example is true with another example that is identical with different names).

    Finally, Software solutions, I haven't read the whole book yet(about halfway), but what I like about it is that it seems to cover the topics it does cover fairly well and it has a lot of good exercises.

  3. #3
    theordore is offline Member
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    Thanks for this help. I'm off to the bookstore just now!

  4. #4
    silverglade is offline Senior Member
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    Thank you Sunde887, from your helping me I can tell you already know a lot about programming. It's impressive. I don't know squat. LOL. Not yet anyway. If it wasn't for your blog page on books I never would have gotten this far, and your help. Thanks again. Derek

  5. #5
    silverglade is offline Senior Member
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    Default

    I just googled TAOCP and it is "The art of computer programming". thanks

  6. #6
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    sunde887 is offline Moderator
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    Be careful not to jump into that book too early. I haven't read it, but it seems like it is definitely a challenging book(it also isn't java specific).

    Another good book you can look into is Structures and Interpretation of Computer Programming(sicp), which was recommended to me by Josah. I just purchased it and finished my first read through of the first chapter and I am really enjoying it. It also seems like a challenging book though(very mathy for me, and I don't have great math experience)

    SICP is freely available online. Here is a direct link if you want to look through the first chapter and see if it will be good for you: Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs

    Finally, make sure you don't get overwhelmed. While I am not overwhelmed there are a lot of books I am trying to read and that I also want.

    I am currently reading: Accelerated c++, SICP, Code, Thinking in java. I have the following books I want to start reading: C++ primer, linux and unix shell programming, head first c#, and I have the following books I want to order soon: TAOCP volumes 1-3, Effective Java, Concurrency in practice, Java puzzlers, The Java Programming language, C++ Programming language, Programming: principles and practices using c++, and programming pearls.

    Obviously this is an incredible amount of books to read and it's more of a TODO list which continues to grow exponentially.

  7. #7
    silverglade is offline Senior Member
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    WOW. That is a serious amount of books. Just when I thought I was done buying. LOL. Now I will have to buy more. Some of them will have to wait as I am now broke from ordering "The Art of Computer Programming vol 1-3". It was expensive, but since you mentioned it after Effective Java, I just bought it. LOL. It will probably be worth it since it has very high ratings and you recommended it. I eventually want to read the same books you are reading because you have a GREAT sense of a good book to teach yourself with, and the positive and negatives of each book you say are very clear and correct.

    Thanks again for that expanded list Sunde887. I copied and pasted it into my "learn java.txt" file with my notes in it. Also, your tag or quote about recursion at the bottom of your posts is very funny. LOL. ok thank you. DerekD

  8. #8
    silverglade is offline Senior Member
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    I don't have great math experience either. (grin):D

  9. #9
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    sunde887 is offline Moderator
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    Let me know how you like TAOCP if you start reading it when you get it. I will probably be buying it and a few others when I get another paycheck.

  10. #10
    silverglade is offline Senior Member
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    Ok. I will tell you what I think of it. I usually know if a book is good or bad pretty quickly. Well, maybe not bad, just more difficult than my current skill level usually. But I will let you know what I think. Thanks. Derek

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