Where to begin...
Wow, neat forums packed with loads of knowledge and wisdom. Some of which I hope will be able to give me a few pointers into starting my "Java Education".
I have never learnt a "real" programming language before, although I did use Game Maker when I was younger. I have a few questions that I wanted to ask the community:
1) What is the most efficient/easiest program to write Java in? (Eclipse seems popular)
2) What are your favourite sites which provide good Java tutorials, examples and articles?
3) Is there any difference in writing Java for Android Devices?
4) Can you play Java on a Pc or Mac?
5) How long (In hours/days) do you estimate it will take to build up a Basic/Intermediate knowledge of Java?
6) Where can Java lead my programming career?
Um, lots of questions.
1. There really isn't any most efficient/easiest program. Its all about preference, a lot of coders find Eclipse to be useful. However notepad and notepad++ are often suggested for beginners to programming. You have to deal with all the messy stuff, which makes you learn more and faster.
2. The Really Big Index
3. Yes, there are differences. Most of them pertain to the fact that you cannot use all of Java's libraries on Android, and there are other libraries created by the makers of Android. Most places recommend you get a decent understanding of Java before trying to write Android Mobile Applications.
4. Yes, you can make .jar files that run virtually the same on Pc, Mac, Linux and Solaris. Minus the OS specific stuff you'll learn if you pursue the language.
5. Its hard to tell, everyone learns at their own pace. I devoted a minimum of 2 hours a day and I finished my first book in a little under a month. I'm working on a second now. A buddy of mine devotes around 3 hours a day minimum and he's still on the same book I finished because it takes him a little longer to understand whats going on in the background. I also learned a few programming languages before, this is his first.
6. Anywhere you want it too. You could be developing programs that work across the internet, work on the internet, in mobile devices or create games. Its all about what area of Java you pursue after learning the basics.
What dark said is very good, however; my answer is going to be more general. First a link to a list of good books(in my opinion): http://www.java-forums.org/blogs/sun...endations.html
I highly suggest using notepad++(or any other simple editor) and compile from the command line. Not using auto completion is also helpful. It forces you to remember a lot of things.
It could also be helpful to learn how to program and not necessarily just java, in my book list, htdp is an amazing book for beginners, freely available at htdp.org.
Learning the basics of java isn't especially challenging, it will be a bit time consuming, but a couple of months should get you a decent understanding many of the basics.
Make sure you understand that learning to program will be time consuming. Often times it will also be frustrating and overwhelming, stick to it and don't stray.
Ah yes, how could I forget. To reinforce what Sunde said, learning a programming language will be frustrating at times. Its easy to feel overwhelmed, and honestly the only reason why I got through it is because I found this website. I was trying to learn out of a book that someone recommended to me by word of mouth and the PDF version of it was all sorts of messed up. Some times text was cut out and some of the examples didn't even work, at times I wanted to throw a brick through my laptop screen.
When I found this site I knew almost nothing about Java, now I like to think I have a pretty good general grasp at whats going on in the Java world. You really just have to keep at it, but whenever you feel frustrated and can't think straight its a good idea to walk away from the computer. Get a snack or drink, maybe take a walk and only return to coding whenever you feel ready. If you still don't understand it after that, make a post here and we will try to help you out as much as possible.
Hell, I've been learning java for like 7-8 months and feel very overwhelmed many times. (especially when trying to read open source projects ><)