Some of us came here because we read about the forum in a Head First book. And, I would personally recommend those books. But, I am not sure that there is any campaign to sell Head First books here. There are lots of authors and titles featured as well as reviewed on JavaRanch.
I'm moving this discussion to our "JavaRanch" forum...
The soul is dyed the color of its thoughts. Think only on those things that are in line with your principles and can bear the light of day. The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you do is who you become. Your integrity is your destiny - it is the light that guides your way. - Heraclitus
I own (and purchased) three of the Head First Books. I find them a good first-time introduction to the the topics of Java, J2EE, and design patterns. They have a rather unique light-headed approach to the subjects they deal with. I would recommend them for that reason. But apart from that introductory purpose I really prefer the other, more technical and academic, books I own. [ January 19, 2006: Message edited by: Barry Gaunt ]
JavaRanch is an educational site. We help people learn. Books are tools for learning. Thus we help people choose books, we write book reviews, we host book promotions and contests, and we discuss books. We even have a private forum for authors to discuss the writing process and the business of being an author.
We have promotions and contests in which people win books. Authors visit and answer questions about their books. The free books are donated by the publishers, and, although it would be lovely to think that they did this purely out of the kindness of their hearts, of course they do it to raise awareness of their books, and hopefully sell a few. JavaRanch does it because authors are smart people and can help Ranchers learn -- and because people come for the free books, and stay for the community.
But if by titling this thread "Ethics", you're suggesting that JavaRanch receives money to promote particular books, well, then I think you don't know much about the publishing industry, or about JavaRanch. I see that you're still a greenhorn -- perhaps you should wait until you've been here a while, and gotten to know us better, before questioning our motives. Every single staff member at JavaRanch is an unpaid volunteer -- you realize that, yes?
Are you suggesting that we don't allow ANY books? or do you just want to ban/restrict the Head First ones? That doesn't seem right either, does it?
Remember that part of this site was founded by one of the Head First authors, so naturally we're gonna treat her well.
i'm would assume part of what determines what books are featured depends on what books the publishers are willing to give us, and what authors are willing to give up their precious free time to come here.
Again, this site has very close ties with the Head First people, so naturally they're going to be seen a lot.
Plus, they're pretty dang cool books.
So if you feel we're giving these titles special treatment... maybe we are. But as Paul said, it's his site, and we play by his rules. That's not to say you can't discuss a different opinion - in fact, that is encouraged.
I'm confused by the "ethics" you're talking about. People come here, at Paul's pleasure, and express their opinions. a lot of folks (myself included) love those books, so we talk about them a lot. What are the ethics of expressing an opinion? What are the ethics of giving away a prize?
Please feel free to write a better book, and i'm sure we'll promote the heck out of that one too, if we can get free copies to give away!!!
There are only two hard things in computer science: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors
Having been very active in the Servlets and JSP forums for the last year, I can say that nearly all mention of "Head First Servlets and JSP" has come from regular users (greenhorns and ranch hands) and not from JavaRanch staff (bartenders and sheriffs). I'm guessing that a lot of them learned of this site from reading the book.
Further, I've never seen any attempt to supress mention of any other books. I often recommend the book that I used when I started learning Servlets.
Personally, when I am in the J2ME forum and people ask for books suggestions, I always mention "Wireless Java J2ME" from Apress. Why? Because in my opinion I read that book and started programming J2ME in three days. So I can type that suggestion till the cow comes home. Because it is my opinion, and until my opinion pisses off Paul W. and he kicks me out, then I am going to post it.
And that includes the Head First Series, in which I know the authors, and have Technical Edited a couple of them. Which, I also volunteered for. Why? Because, I think they are the best books I have read, really easy to learn from.
As Mark says - you do tend to see certain books mentioned a lot in certain forums. So the Heads First Java book and the SCJP Sun Certified Programmer for Java 5 Study Guide get mentioned a lot in the SCJP forum because they are really great books for learning SCJP. My SCJD Exam with J2SE 5 book and Max's The Sun Certified Java Developer Exam with J2SE 1.4 books get mentioned a lot in the SCJD forums. And so on for the other forums. These are just the books that the members of the forum seem to like.
So as you can see, I have mentioned other 3 other authors (including myself) who are regular contributors / bartenders and sherrifs on this site. Plus 4 books other than the HeadFirst series which are regularly discussed at JavaRanch, quite apart from the other authors and books already mentioned in this thread. So I don't see a problem with JavaRanch overpromoting the HeadFirst series - all authors and books get equal time. It may seem like HeadFirst gets more time simply because there are 6 books in the series (not counting foreign language translations), but that is just perception.
Originally posted by Paul Wheaton: I hereby permit it.
Well, I'm glad that's taken care of. Another hard day of tyranting done. I think I'll have some pie.
There is certainly some unbridled enthusiasm expressed on this site for HF books. It is however not part of a concerted effort; many of the volunteers and visitors to JR like those books and like to say so here. If someone wanted to dump on one of those titles, that's allowed too.
Unfortunately, the books are so compelling to so many people that many of them forget to complain about whatever shortcomings the books might have.
Give it a shot! If you don't like one of the books, post your objection. There's no policy or organized effort that says you can't.
Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen. - Robert Bresson
I deeply regret for hurting many of my idols. I too own a Head First and I can say its a wonderful stuff. Perhaps I didnt see it the way you guys have seen and I apologise for that. When I saw Head First being mentioned more frequently I felt that Javaranch is in danger of degrading its professional standards. But after reading all your mails my feelings were proved to be wrong.
Paul Wheaton Im sorry, I just realised that Javaranch is owned by you!!! Javaranch is a revelation!! Wonderful work!! Keep going!!I love to hang around javaranch most part of my day.!!
Regards, Su Yeu
author and jackaroo
It sometimes seems to me that there is a bias towards the Head First books. However I have two in my posession and another I keep reading whilst in Borders and I know why there is a bias, it is because they are good books. Most authors take the view of a book as a vessell to pour information in your brain whereas it seems to me the Head First approach is to say "how do you learn" and then when it turns out that most people learn through this and that activity they deliver it that way. Note I said most people, some people will probably not like the style and find the informality and layout off putting.
JavaRanch is more a crowd than a democracy, but most people are always willing to listen. Sometimes people have said "Bates and Sierras book is the best for SCJP". I am inclined to say, yes it is an excellent book and lots of people will find it just what they want, but the Mughal and Rasmussen book takes a different approach and it might suit some people*. So plug the authors/books you like and tell us why.
But whilst we are discussing Book Plugging I should mention I have written an excellent book for people studying for the Sun Certified Java Programmers Exam for Java 5 which you can read about at