File APIs for Java Developers
Manipulate DOC, XLS, PPT, PDF and many others from your application.
http://aspose.com/file-tools
The moose likes Beginning Java and the fly likes Learn to Program with Java by John Smiley Big Moose Saloon
  Search | Java FAQ | Recent Topics | Flagged Topics | Hot Topics | Zero Replies
Register / Login
JavaRanch » Java Forums » Java » Beginning Java
Bookmark "Learn to Program with Java by John Smiley" Watch "Learn to Program with Java by John Smiley" New topic
Author

Learn to Program with Java by John Smiley

John Smiley
Author
Greenhorn

Joined: Mar 01, 2002
Posts: 17
Hi Folks
I'd like to tell you a little bit about my introductory Java book,
Learn to Program with Java
but before I do, a little bit about my background.
I've been teaching computer programming for over 20 years at the college and university level. About half the courses I teach are courses on Systems Analysis and Database Design, and the other half are programming courses. During those 20 years I've taught courses on BASIC, C, C++, COBOL (yes, I still teach it), Visual Basic and Java.
About 4 years ago, unhappy with the textbook I had been using to teach beginners Visual Basic, I approached a publisher about writing my own Visual Basic book, and to make a long story short, that inquiry led to my best selling and very popular Learn To Program With Visual Basic 6 book.
I won't get into the details as to why it was done this way, but my first book (and all the other books I've written since) tells the story of a classroom full of beginner programmers as they learn a new programming language.
In the case of Learn to Program with Java, there are 18 students who, in the form of an ongoing story complete with dialog, ask questions (over 1000) and I (in the role of a college professor) provide the answers.
This type of writing style is not for everyone--but if you check the reviews of my Visual Basic books, and the reviews of my Java book that are beginning to be posted, you'll find that the writing style is amazingly effective for beginners with no prior programming experience.
My Java book has 13 chapters, and follows the mythical eighteen students as they develop a Java application to calculate grades at a university (there's a 14th chapter posted on my website that takes the application and converts it to an applet). The topics covered in the book are definitely introductory in nature, but they do form the basis for good programming habits.
Here's the Table Of Contents:
Chapter 1---Where Do I Begin
Chapter 2---Getting comfortable with Java
Chapter 3---Data
Chapter 4---Selection Structures
Chapter 5---Loops
Chapter 6---creating your own Methods
Chapter 7---Creating Objects from Instantiable Classes
Chapter 8---Controlling Access to the Data in Your Object
Chapter 9---Inheritance and Interfaces
Chapter 10--Arrays
Chapter 11--Error Handling
Chapter 12--Developing a Graphical User Interface
Chapter 13--Event Handling in Java
For more information about me, follow this link:
http://www.johnsmiley.com
For more information about my book, follow this link:
http://www.johnsmiley.com/mybooks/0072131896/0072131896.htm
I look forward to interacting with all of you this week, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask!
John Smiley


<a href="http://www.johnsmiley.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">John Smiley</a><br />Author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0072131896/ref=ase_electricporkchop" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Learn to Program with Java</a>
Naveen Gabrani
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 12, 2000
Posts: 25
I am including a detailed (and useful) review of this book that somebody posted at amazon.com
"I'm not a professional programmer---just someone who enjoys writing programs as a hobby. I signed up for John Smiley's Java Study Group, which is a Blackboard.com based learning environment. The Study Group used this book as the course textbook, and I found it to be a wonderful vehicle to learn Java---which I think is a more difficult language to learn than Visual Basic.
First off, I should tell you that I'm a big fan of John Smiley and his books. I have all four of his Visual Basic programming books, and I used them to learn how to write my first computer program. I've also participated in many of his on-line courses, and subscribe to his Visual Basic mailing list. When John Smiley writes a book, he builds a community around it, with a support structure consisting of a web page and mailing list. If you need help, you can also email him--and he'll actually write back to you, although not necessarily the same day or with a
direct answer (he is a teacher after all!)
Here's my evaluation of Learn to Program with Java:
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THE BOOK:
1. It's written so that anyone can understand it, in other words, you don't have to be a nerd to understand it. My husband is a computer programmer, and if I want to be spoken to in 'geek-speak', I would have let him teach me Java. I needed a book that patiently explained, in detail, the fundamentals of Java programming, not only the how-to-do but the 'why's' behind the language. This book did exactly that.
2. In each chapter he presents a demonstration program to illustrate the points he is trying to make.
3. Each chapter has a series of exercises for the reader to complete, with detailed instructions to guide you in completing it. By my count, there are about 100 of these exercises which contribute greatly to your learning experience.
4. During the course of the book, a real-world working Java program is developed. Each chapter has a series of exercises in which the reader is given instructions to complete the project, so that by the end of the book, you'll have developed your very own Java program. Many books concentrate on developing lots of small programs---with the result being that at the end of the book all you really know how to do is write small programs. At the end of this book, you'll feel capable of tackling your own real-world program.
5. There are lots of screen shots (hundreds) to help make learning Java easier.
6. I found the book very well organized and laid out. it starts out dealing with fundamental programming concepts like variables, If statements, and loops, and then progresses to the more difficult topics of Objects, the essence of Java programming. By the way, his coverage and explanation of Objects is the best I've ever seen--and my husband the Java programmer agrees
7. The book is written in the context of an actual classroom using fictional students. I feel this approach is one the books greatest assets, although I recognize that some readers may not feel the same way (see below under 'What you may not like'). 'Students' ask questions, and the author answers them. Just like a real classroom, some students ask 'good' questions and other students ask 'dumb' questions. I must admit that many of the 'dumb' questions are those I would have had myself (but been too timid to ask) if I had learned Java at an actual school. I actually found myself growing to 'like' some of these 'students'---and anxiously waiting for one of them to ask their next question.
8. The style of the book makes it OK to be technically challenged. I can't recall a single phrase such as 'of course', 'obviously' or 'it goes without saying' like I find in so many other computer books. If the author has an ego, he isn't using his books to stroke it.
9. The author has an uncanny way of answering questions in the text just about the time they pop into your head. Not surprisingly, he does this by having one of his fictional students ask the question. This is an amazingly effective learning technique.
WHAT YOU MAY NOT LIKE
1. The style of the book which I like so much, a conversational style built around a fictional classroom, can bother some people, especially those people looking to get right to the 'meat' of the subject. This style probably inflates the page count of the book by a few pages, and there is a bunch of 'he said', 'Rhonda asked' type comments scattered throughout. However, I found the style amazingly effective---imagine Mr. Rogers teaching your High School Physics or Calculus class.
2. The book doesn't jump right into Java--instead, there's an initial chapter on the Systems Development Life Cycle and how to develop a Requirements Statement to work from. Some readers might find this a 'turn off', but personally, I found it very useful, and use the methodology in the programs I write.
3. The book is definitely introductory. It doesn't cover advanced Java topics, but the topics it does deal with it covers better than any other book I've seen. Let's put it this way--after you're done with this book, you should feel comfortable in writing your own Java program.
If you need to move onto advanced Java concepts, you'll have no problem reading some of those other books.
4. The book doesn't cover Applet creation, something I really wanted to learn, but the author has posted a chapter on Applet creation on his website at:
http://www.johnsmiley.com/java/chapter14.htm
In summary, I highly recommend this book to anyone wishing to learn Java."
Dan Lund
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 17, 2001
Posts: 26
How much does it cover the graphical/window application bit of java?
John Smiley
Author
Greenhorn

Joined: Mar 01, 2002
Posts: 17
Hi Dan
The last two chapters of the book deal with using the Java Swing libraries to create a windows program, complete with Buttons, RadioButtons, Labels and Textboxes--that's the culmination of the Grades Calculation project that the 'students' complete during the class.
I've been told that the coverage is excellent.
John Smiley
Dave Vick
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 10, 2001
Posts: 3244
Naveen
Thanks for pointing out that review it should be helpful to a lot of people. However, keep in mind that part of what makes the internet great is links
Why should we store it on our server when Amazon is more than willing to do it for us and we can just link to it
Thanks


Dave
Brett Anthoine
Greenhorn

Joined: Mar 12, 2002
Posts: 27
Hello,
Does the book contains some intro on threads ?
It is always hard to teach basic thread programming to beginners...
thx


Brett Anthoine<br />"640k should be enough for anybody."
John Smiley
Author
Greenhorn

Joined: Mar 01, 2002
Posts: 17
Hi Brett
Sorry, no info in the book on threads.
I hope to cover threads either in an intermediate book I'm hoping to write or in one of the articles I typically write in support of my books.
John Smiley
Rashid Ali
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 16, 2001
Posts: 349
Won't it be more better if it could contain at least a good chapter on Swing, the light weight component made in java , and Some intro on Servlet, JSPs, Thread, JDBC etc to give student a complete handbook for reference and they won't need to see the other books for the purpose.
[i]By the way, i know it's a biggener level, not for intermediate student, as u mentioned above[i]
Kind regards
John Smiley
Author
Greenhorn

Joined: Mar 01, 2002
Posts: 17
Hi Rashid
Thanks for your question!
The book's final two chapters are devoted to Swing.
Writing a book using my style results in a book with a page count a bit higher than normal (it reads like a story). As a result, if I included that additional information, the book would probably be close to 1,000 pages, along the lines of the Deitel and Deitel Java book.
My main purpose is to get timid potential programmers going---once they have the confidence, they can either move to another book or pick up additional skills through great resources like JavaRanch (and believe me, this is the best!).
John Smiley
Brett Anthoine
Greenhorn

Joined: Mar 12, 2002
Posts: 27
Hello again,
First, thanks for the reply.
Another short question here, is there any project
of a translation in french or german ?
Derron Rose
Greenhorn

Joined: Mar 16, 2002
Posts: 4
Hi,
I am new to programming. I have been trying to teach myself c. From answers I have received in another forum, I've decided I would like to begin to study Java. Is this book for a true greenhorn such as myself? And if I truly understand this book, will I be well-prepared to transition to a more advanced text? That is, does this book cover all the necessary bases? Does this book presuppose knowledge of other programming languages?
Thank you.
Derron Rose


DR
John Smiley
Author
Greenhorn

Joined: Mar 01, 2002
Posts: 17
Hi Brett
Thanks for your interest in my book--as far as a French or German translation, I'm not sure.
I just sent an email to my publisher, and I'll get back to you.
John Smiley
John Smiley
Author
Greenhorn

Joined: Mar 01, 2002
Posts: 17
Hi Derron
Your Questions:
1. Is this book for a true greenhorn such as myself?
ANSWER:
You're exactly the type of person I write my books for---people with no experience who might be intimidated by other books.
2. And if I truly understand this book, will I be well-prepared to transition to a more advanced text?
That is, does this book cover all the necessary bases?
ANSWER:
Absolutely--when you complete the book, you'll know the basics of Java, and be well prepared to move onto more advanced topics without getting lost.
I like to think that anyone who goes through my book can pick up any book, or visit any Java website, and no longer feel overwhelmed.
Most importantly, the book teaches you how to program---how to design a program, what a Selection Structure is, why you use Loops, etc.
3. Does this book presuppose knowledge of other programming languages?
ANSWER:
Absolutely none---it's not necessary to know any other language prior to coming to Java--in fact, I think it's better if you don't.
Hope this helps.
John Smiley
Rex Ashworth
Greenhorn

Joined: Apr 04, 2002
Posts: 20
John,
I am a member of your list group, have all your VB books, and am interested in acquiring all your Java books.
Are you going to continue the Java series like you did with VB. Advance the theory, add an examples book, and database use?
TIA,
Comp
Rashid Ali
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 16, 2001
Posts: 349
Thanks Mr John Smiley for replying to me.
Through the content you provided above, i am afraid that this book could cover upto the certification level, and as you mentioned that this is for the beginner's level, this could also not be digging into the depth of certification's objectives as they required from very minor to very major information on the topics covered in objectives.
But i am sure that after going through your book one can easily pickup any certification preparation book and can be well prepared for the exam easily which i guess from your discussion above as it provides thorough discussion on all the basic topics covered in the exam.
And would you like to tell us that how much of the exam's objective that book covers, in %age.
Thank you very much for your time and for being with us.
Very kind regards
Rashid Ali
Karachi
John Smiley
Author
Greenhorn

Joined: Mar 01, 2002
Posts: 17
Hi Comp
Great to hear from you!
I'm always interested in writing more advanced books on Java, and I hope to do so along the lines you just proposed. In fact, I was just talking to my publisher about that today.
John Smiley
John Smiley
Author
Greenhorn

Joined: Mar 01, 2002
Posts: 17
Hi Rashid
Your Questions:
Through the content you provided above, i am afraid that this book could cover upto the certification level, and as you mentioned that this is for the beginner's level, this could also not be digging into the depth of certification's objectives as they required from very minor to very major information on the topics covered in objectives.
But i am sure that after going through your book one can easily pickup any certification preparation book and can be well prepared for the exam easily which i guess from your discussion above as it provides thorough discussion on all the basic topics covered in the exam.
And would you like to tell us that how much of the exam's objective that book covers, in %age.
ANSWER:
Based on the Sun Certified Programmer Exam requirements located here
http://suned.sun.com/US/images/certification_progj2se_07_01.pdf
I would say that, with the exception of threads, the book covers all of the fundamental aspects of the exam.
However, and this is true of any Certification exam, merely reading a book that covers the materials is not enough to pass--you need to work with the language, ideally immerse yourself in one or two major projects (and when I say immerse, I mean eat, sleep, and dream in Java), and have a bunch of things go wrong (making mistakes is the best way to become a great programmer--hardly anyone learns well when things go swimmingly fine the first time around).
Hope this helps.
John Smiley
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://aspose.com/file-tools
 
subject: Learn to Program with Java by John Smiley