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Head First Java by Bert Bates, Kathy Sierra

Henry Wong
author
Sheriff

Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 18836
    
  40

Nadine Ernest wrote:i actually loved this book!
its funny!
it simplifies my learning of java!

i downloaded it at [DELETED]

you can search it
itis amazing!!



If you "loved" the book, maybe you should consider buying it -- instead of getting a copy from a file sharing site. Stealing copyrighted works is not nice. Doubly so here since the authors of the book in question, are JavaRanch moderators.

Henry


Books: Java Threads, 3rd Edition, Jini in a Nutshell, and Java Gems (contributor)
Pauline McNamara
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 19, 2001
Posts: 4012
    
    6
miguel lisboa wrote:
According to page xxv of the book, the book's website is headfirstjava.com.

yes, i know that one, and precisely because i cant find what i'm looking for in there, that's why i'm posting :roll:


Give this one a try: http://headfirstlabs.com/ They have specific pages for the books and a forum for each of them too.

And of course, you can alsways bring up HF Java questions in the Beginner's forum right here at the ranch: http://www.coderanch.com/forums/f-33/Java-General-beginner Bert Bates is a moderator of javaranch and hangs out in that forum a lot!

Ehr, just realized that this question was asked ages ago, but just in case someone else is wondering...
Nadine Ernest
Greenhorn

Joined: Dec 10, 2008
Posts: 27
ok you 're right!!

but the books are extremly expensive!!!


What Doesn't Kill You, Makes You Stronger!
Neil Cartmell
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 13, 2010
Posts: 150
Ok well this is the 2 star review i wrote for it on amazon. Just another perspective.

I had been learning Java for about a week before buying this book. The first book I tried was Java For Dummies but it contained no exercises and seemed to tell you about Java rather then attempt to teach you it so I decided I needed another book. I thought as this was getting so many great reviews I would try this one.

First in the introduction of this book I was very disappointed to read that that they recommend backing away from this book if you have no programming experience what so ever. Well a bit late to be telling me now! Now I already own a copy!

I felt a little bit cheated because in the amazon.com description of this book that I read before buying it says this..

"... for people with no Java experience, and even people with no programming experience at all."

I read through the customer reviews and it seems like half the reviews were saying "Not for beginners " and the others are saying "Just for beginners and not for experienced programmers."

Well this review is another one saying NOT for beginners.

If you ARE a beginner you will still learn a lot from this book. But it might make things more difficult and frustrating then they need to be.

For example the section on loops is VERY brief before it asks you to program the song "99 Bottles of Beer" using loops. Let me tell you that without any programming experience there is no way you could do this just by using the tiny bits of information the book has given you so far. It hadn't even told you that if you put the name of a variable into a print statement that it will print out the value of that variable. And their program covered several other new features that should have been introduced so you had a fair chance of figuring it out yourself. Of course looking back now I've been doing Java for four months it seems incredibly obvious but as a complete beginner it had me stumped for a while.

This is one of the books main flaws - asking you to think how you would do something then introduce new concepts that you could not have possibly known. Like in the Battleships example where I turned the page to find that they had used an advanced for loop (before even telling us what a regular for loop is!) and an Integer.parseInt method. I think the best way to teach is to introduce one new thing at a time and show an example using the simplest code possible so the reader gets a better understanding of what is going on rather then introduce us to several new concepts all within the most complicated program we have seen so far which can leave the reader feeling overwhelmed. Most of the time i would need to go to the sun tutorials to get a clear understanding of what Head First Java was trying to say.

One of the most important things about a book that teachers, in my opinion, is the exercises. And this does have some really interesting exercises. Usually at the end of each chapter you're given some code that is all muddled up and you have to fix it. These exercises were really good fun, I sometimes found them easy and sometimes I found them hard. But the problem with them is they don't really help you become a better programmer anymore then an anagram would help you become a better writer. I craved exercises that asked me to write small programs using the concepts I had been taught so far.

A lot of the people who gave this book bad reviews had a problem with all the silly pictures and the humour but i didn't. I thought that was great idea....just not at the expense of fully working code examples. Nothing makes things more clear then just seeing code and being told what each part of it does. Most of the code in this book is just little snippets. And when there is full code it often includes "ready baked code" that has lines and lines that they don't explain at all.

The final straw for me that finally made me just put this book down and never pick it up again was the bits about MIDI. I'm a musician and have experience with working with MIDI so you would think I would be interested in it but with all that I still hadn't been taught it seemed very unnecessary to be learning it now and the fact that they brought it up at about the same time as GUIs frustrated me more. One thing at a time please! It said you could skip the midi stuff but they used the program they wrote as an example in the following chapter about I/O streams so if you didn't follow it you would be lost later on.

It just felt like the book started randomly jumping from one topic to the next not giving you enough information about any of them to be useful. I found myself not sure what to practice each day and that I lacked direction.

What i wanted in a teach yourself Java book was a book that introduces new things in a decent order, explains concepts clearly and has examples demonstrating the new concepts, and gives me enough of a foundation so i can use these concepts in my own programs. I wanted a generous amount of exercises that tests only the concepts you have been taught so far. And i do believe I have found such a book.....it's called "Java How To Program Eighth Edition" by Paul and Harvey Deitel which I wish that i had bought first. It's way overpriced but I highly recommend it and I shall be giving it a 5 star review within the next few days.

I did learn a lot from a combination of this book, the sun tutorials and some great youtube videos by a channel called thenewboston(which i recommend for anyone finding it hard to get started). But if I had only this book I don't think I would have got as far as i did.

To be fair, there were things that it explained very well. I think the chapters on Inheritance and Polymorphism were brilliant. But there were just too many things about this book that frustrated me to give it any more then two stars.
David Newton
Author
Rancher

Joined: Sep 29, 2008
Posts: 12617

Neil Cartmell wrote:This is one of the books main flaws - asking you to think how you would do something then introduce new concepts that you could not have possibly known.

Asking you to think first is bad?
Most of the time i would need to go to the sun tutorials to get a clear understanding of what Head First Java was trying to say.

Gaining familiarity with the official docs is bad?
What i wanted in a teach yourself Java book was a book that introduces new things in a decent order

(With you being the arbiter of what constitutes "decent", of course.)
it's called "Java How To Program Eighth Edition" by Paul and Harvey Deitel which I wish that i had bought first. It's way overpriced but I highly recommend it and I shall be giving it a 5 star review within the next few days.

A good book, but an entirely different educational methodology, and IMO it tries to teach too many things in a single book. Maybe appropriate for a programming class, but for self-directed learning, I think there are better options.
Neil Cartmell
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 13, 2010
Posts: 150
David Newton wrote:
Neil Cartmell wrote:This is one of the books main flaws - asking you to think how you would do something then introduce new concepts that you could not have possibly known.

Asking you to think first is bad?
Most of the time i would need to go to the sun tutorials to get a clear understanding of what Head First Java was trying to say.

Gaining familiarity with the official docs is bad?
What i wanted in a teach yourself Java book was a book that introduces new things in a decent order

(With you being the arbiter of what constitutes "decent", of course.)
it's called "Java How To Program Eighth Edition" by Paul and Harvey Deitel which I wish that i had bought first. It's way overpriced but I highly recommend it and I shall be giving it a 5 star review within the next few days.

A good book, but an entirely different educational methodology, and IMO it tries to teach too many things in a single book. Maybe appropriate for a programming class, but for self-directed learning, I think there are better options.


Having an opinion is bad?

Neil Cartmell
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 13, 2010
Posts: 150
David Newton wrote:
Asking you to think first is bad?


No David being asked to think is not bad. I love thinking. That's the reason i'm enjoying learning programming so much as it's exercising my brain like i've never exercised it before.

I want exercises that challenge me yes, and i love the How To Program exercises. One of the questions was to solve the chess Knights Tour problem. (i'm sure you've probably come across it before so i won't explain). I did it quite easily then i noticed that another part of the puzzle asked me to write it so it looked ahead a move, this meant i had to completely re write how i had written my program and taught me valuable lessons about developing algorithms. It took me all day it was way way harder then i expected but i loved every second. This is the kind of thinking i like.

Head First Java would ask me to think about things i could not possibly know the answer to. Or I felt it didn't give me the information i needed. Like before turning over the page and seeing the How Many Bottle of Beer challenge it asked me to think about how i would program it. I don't feel i would have had a chance of working it out because it hadn't taught me the basic syntax. For example i didn't know what this meant in a print statement.

beerNum + " " + word + " " + " of beer on the wall"

I wondered what all the + " " were for. I worked out what each bit of the program was after seeing it of course but then it was too late to have ago myself. So i basically used the answer to teach me the syntax. I found this frustrating. The how to program exercises can get very tricky but they have always provided you with the knowledge to be able to work it out. They don't ask you to guess things you couldn't possibly have known.

I did like the way Head First Java taught you how to use the API and got you to look up things but yes i do think having to resort to the suns beginner tutorials because of Head First Java's lack of examples or clear explanation is bad. Of course this is subjective and many people love the book and find it easy to follow. It's just an opinion.



A good book, but an entirely different educational methodology, and IMO it tries to teach too many things in a single book. Maybe appropriate for a programming class, but for self-directed learning, I think there are better options.


Well the thing is, you are an expert i am a complete novice. When looking at a book like this you are in more of a position to know whether it's teaching the right things or trying to put too much into the book or not. All i know is it explained things very clearly with lots of examples and it has made learning a joy. I would highly highly recommend it to anyone, like myself, who has had no experience with programming.

I think with just a few alterations Head First Java could have been brilliant. If it had just a few more pages at the beginning to get people who have never programmed before up to speed. If they add a good selection of exercises at the end of each chapter getting you to actually to write programs using what you have learned so far. And i think they should completely ditch the ready baked code.
Arun C. Giridharan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 11, 2010
Posts: 96
This Book is Symbol of Danger For beginners !! ....right Now i'm able to study this Book along with Complete Reference! ! !
Dimitrios Chatzidimitriou
Greenhorn

Joined: Aug 21, 2010
Posts: 14
I started reading this book ant it looks awesome!

My problem is that I am really newbie in programming.. I have done some php (i have done the things kids do..).

This book says that you should create test classes to test your real class.. Somewhere there I lose my way.. How can I run only the test class without run the real class?

I probably did not explain what I mean very well..

Anyway I still reading and trying to do the "homework" to see the results! I hope I ll be happy at the end!

Cheers!
Dimitrios Chatzidimitriou
Greenhorn

Joined: Aug 21, 2010
Posts: 14
I also would like to say something to some people who consider the price of the book expensive..

I bought it for 35-40 euros.. If you cannot afford this cost then you probably don't even have a computer to work on.. so the book would be useless..

You should not consider yourself serious programmer because one day you ll write a program and someone else will downloaded.. cracked!
David Newton
Author
Rancher

Joined: Sep 29, 2008
Posts: 12617

Some people use other people's computers, or school computers, or start learning without a computer at all. Bear in mind that 35-40 Euros, or even 35-40 dollars is a lot of money in some parts of the world in some situations.
Dimitrios Chatzidimitriou
Greenhorn

Joined: Aug 21, 2010
Posts: 14
I did not mean to offense anyone.. I just said that is more expensive to have it downloaded instead of having it with bones and flesh!

[DELETED]
Vishal Hegde
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 01, 2009
Posts: 1055

Game hit miss is confusing at times i read it two three times....please replace that with something else


http://www.lifesbizzare.blogspot.com || OCJP:81%
Tony Hunter
Greenhorn

Joined: Oct 05, 2010
Posts: 2
Only a little way into this book so far, and already there are a few confusing things, such as exactly how to use the proposed compiling method, which in the end I used the good old internet to explain clearly how to compile using Command Prompt, though even that is a long-winded method. Also, I dont understand %java to run a class file? What program is this using?

I'll be working through this book further over the coming weeks so i'll have to give a full review once the book has been given a proper chance...
Bert Bates
author
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8815
    
    5
Hi Tony,

If we had it to do over, we'd spend a bit more time in the beginning discussing how to install Java and how to use the command line. We touch on these topics in the intro in the "setting up java" box, and we assume that you're using some flavor of unix, hence the "%". We assume some flavor of unix because we love Macs and we hate Window$

hth,

Bert


Spot false dilemmas now, ask me how!
(If you're not on the edge, you're taking up too much room.)
Janeice DelVecchio
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Sep 14, 2009
Posts: 1665
    
  11

Tony and Bert,

I agree with the difficulty of the setup of the java environment. Even just one more page would have been really helpful!

Tony, I think Christophe set up a good tutorial in the Beginning Java FAQ. If it's not up, it will be soon!


When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all.
Vishal Kashyap
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 07, 2010
Posts: 73

Manish Hatwalne wrote:When will it be available in India?
- Manish


Hey manish it was always here lol..........
try shroff publishers........Head First Java...........distributors of O'Reilly in India.


MCSA 2003 | Preparing For OCPJP/SCJP6
Jaikiran Pai
Marshal

Joined: Jul 20, 2005
Posts: 10102
    
165

Janeice DelVecchio wrote:

Tony, I think Christophe set up a good tutorial in the Beginning Java FAQ. If it's not up, it will be soon!


It's here http://faq.javaranch.com/java/how-to-create-java-program

[My Blog] [JavaRanch Journal]
Tony Hunter
Greenhorn

Joined: Oct 05, 2010
Posts: 2
Ok, i'm now on Chapter 5 and really getting into this book now... I just wish I had more time in the day to read and work through it. I've got a Job interview thursday afternoon for a trainee developer role, so we'll see how much the book helps
Arjun Srivastava
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 23, 2010
Posts: 432

Book Review Team wrote:Kahy Sierra

sorry to hear that KATHY's name has been misqouted here.


SCJP 6 | FB : Java Certifications-Help. | India Against Corruption
Jaikiran Pai
Marshal

Joined: Jul 20, 2005
Posts: 10102
    
165

Fixed.
Audie johnson
Greenhorn

Joined: Jan 04, 2011
Posts: 1
Is there any news for new edition of SiA???
Christian Joseph
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 07, 2011
Posts: 43
Im actually at page 400, and i really love THIS BOOK!

its has a few jokes that is related to the TOPIC and i really love the Dumb Questions.. it really help me as a noobie to really understand java
After this one i will read it again and BUY your SCJP BOOK and finally took the Oracle EXAM!!

THANKS!!!

GOOD LUCK KATHY SIERRA and BERT BATES!!

YOU REALLY CREATED A NICE BOOK!
Ryan Sykes
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 18, 2012
Posts: 58
Well, I just finished with this book and I guess I'd give it a 4/5 stars. Here is my constructive critique:

Pros:

1. I love the style. I don't normally like these kinds of books, but it works well here. Some of the pictures and thought bubbles were genuinely funny and had me cracking up. Additionally, it makes it easy to absorb a lot of information without getting bored and letting your mind wander.

2. Covers a lot of different topics fairly well. Not very in-depth, but enough to give you a flavor of Java and get you started

3. I enjoyed the "There are no Dumb Questions" sections. They really help drill home the concepts and bring up some very interesting points that you might not have thought of if you just read the text passively

Cons:

1. The biggest complaint for me was the lack of exercise programs, to help you solidify your understanding. Unless you are writing a reference book, I think that all books should try to have some suggested exercises to help readers think independently and truly understand what they have read. While there was a decent bit of example programs in the first couple of chapters that you could play with, there was a long stretch without any real programming, until you get to the beatbox application.

2. The beatbox application seemed a little out of place in this book. Considering that this book is trying to cover the basics, it seemed silly to spend a good chunk of space explaining how the MIDI system works in JAVA, and how you can setup a Sequencer, etc. It feels like more important things could have been included in place of the space taken up by the MIDI explanations (for example, there is no discussion of the Event Dispatch Thread in the GUI or Threads chapter).

3. While the authors did an excellent job of explaining OOP as well as inheritance and polymorphism, I felt that it did not seem to try to get the reader to start thinking with an OOP hat on. It would have been nice to have some more exercises that demonstrate how you should go about approaching a given problem in a way that stays true to the OOP approach. Also, while they do include an "Approach" section prior to listing the code for some of the more complex programs, it would be nice if they also had some text explaining WHY they took that approach. i.e., why they chose the class structures, and instance variables, etc,...thus giving us an inside look at the approach one takes when tackling such problems.

All-in-all, I still think this is a great starter book. As someone without a background in OOP, but a decent bit of experience with procedural programming, it was a quick and easy way to get introduced to the world of Java and now I have the confidence to dig into a more in-depth reference book while starting with some small Java projects.
Vineet Tyagi
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 24, 2012
Posts: 17
This is an awesome book. It seems that anyone can learn java even the Dog which kathy and bert used in objects example. Well Thanks guys for such a good book. God Bless you. I could do wonders if i found a book of Hibernate and spring like this.
Vineet Tyagi
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 24, 2012
Posts: 17
Well with all that good things about head first,i want to point out a bad point in using a head first book..I am not able to read any other book after reading two head first books.. Oh guys how will i learn all other stuff now???
Francesco Valle
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 09, 2012
Posts: 9
Hi guys,

I would like to review Java to study for the new Java 7 certification (OCA for the moment, then I will go for the OCP). I am looking for a good book.
Do you think this would be good, even if it is about Java 5?

When do you think will be released a new version?

Thank you and bye,
Francesco
Bert Bates
author
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8815
    
    5
Hi Vineet,

Thanks for the kind words. I know that Eric and Beth are working on a totally new version of HF JavaScript. Eric and Beth are awesome authors, I'm looking forward to getting that book!

Hi Francesco,

HF Java is NOT designed to prepare you for any of Oracle's (or Sun's) Java certification exams. If you go to the OCA forum you can find several books there that ARE designed to help you with the exam.

hth,

Bert
Francesco Valle
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 09, 2012
Posts: 9
Hi Bert,

thank you for your answer. I have read lots of good comments about your book, and I was really interested in reading it!
Anyway I will follow your advice! Maybe I will read the next edition!

Cheers,
Francesco
Bert Bates
author
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8815
    
    5
Hi Francesco,

HF Java is meant to be for folks who want to learn Java. It will never be about passing a certification exam. Kathy and I believe that it's hard enough writing a book that focuses on a single theme, we wouldn't want to try to write a book that tries to teach basic Java AND prepare you for a certification exam : )

That said, when closures eventually make their way into Java, we will update HF java.

hth,

Bert
Buddhi Vikasitha
Greenhorn

Joined: Nov 01, 2012
Posts: 17

Where can I download a .pdf of this book??? I have the 2nd edition but i can't find the editions 1st and 3rd.. this series is amazing, i love it.
Bert Bates
author
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8815
    
    5
Hi Buddhi,

There is no legal, free download of any edition of this book. If you find a free download, it's illegal and it means that the author - who spent hundreds of hours - gets no compensation, and the publisher, ho took a big financial risk, gets no compensation.
 
Don't get me started about those stupid light bulbs.
 
subject: Head First Java by Bert Bates, Kathy Sierra