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New in JavaRanch and need helps and guidance

Jenson Chew
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Joined: May 27, 2007
Posts: 55
Hi Guys,

I'm new in JavaRanch, and I'm here by recommendation of folks in Sun Java forum. I've not been learning and using Java since I graduated in Year 2004, and I'm not a CS student, but just a IT student. I'm currently forking out time to pick up Java once again sice I've studied Java for 1.5 years since 2001 during my student's life in my college.

I've consulted folks at Sun Java forum there, however, I've not have the time to start the learning well yet. I'm recommeded to get started on Java Online Tutorial available from Sun Java website, as well as right here at JavaRanch.

I'm thinking of where should I move on after that? Is learning J2EE and Java Data Structure equally important while learning J2SE first? I have purchased an E-book off Amazon.com, which I find it quite troublesome to download and validate every time I formatted my computer or reading the book from another device. However, this is not the issue, the issue is it is a Data Structure and Algorithm book for Java, I can't recall the full name now, it's at my home PC, I wish to know, does learning Data Structure and Algorithm in J2EE need the prerequisite of J2SE? Or I can learn J2EE, Data Structure and Algorithm at without picking up J2SE again?Or I should straightaway go and download J2EE Tutorial and start from there?

I'm quite concerned about the learning path and how should I get started and where should I continue after that. I'm a little bit overly ambitious on Java. I wish to touch on Java Game Programming too, after J2SE and J2EE? Or should I jump into Game programming after J2SE path?

All these trouble me a lot while making the right decision. Also, what are the books or even ebooks, that is good for learning Java according to my qualifications mentioned above?I'm not a Java programmer at the moment. I'm just a Java Hobbyist, of course I would prefer to move on as a Java programmer if my skills on Java have matured and considered good.

Sorry that I've forgotten to inform you guys, that I'm Jenson from Singapore.

Nice to meet with all the nice guys here =)

Edit: Forgot to mention that mobile programming is one of my area of interest in Java programming.

Regards,
Jenson
[ May 27, 2007: Message edited by: Jenson Chew ]

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Kaydell Leavitt
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 18, 2006
Posts: 688

Welcome to the JavaRanch Jenson,

You need to start with the Java Language. The keywords, the primitive types, the operators, arrays and the Object type, and then learn the most commonly-used classes & methods that are automatically imported from the package java.lang, such as Object and String.

Concentrate on mastering the basics of Jave. There are only 53 keywords in Java, but I like tutorials that start out only teaching the most commonly used keywords, types, operators, and only the most commonly used methods of the most common classes.

After you master the core of the Java language and the core of the Java Libraries (API), then you should focus your goals of whether you want to program games, micro devices, desktop applications, or work for big business, using Java EE. Java technology is huge and it is challenging enough to master one aspect of it.

Kaydell
[ May 28, 2007: Message edited by: Kaydell Leavitt ]
Jenson Chew
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 27, 2007
Posts: 55
Hi Kaydell,

Thanks for the valuable advice. Btw, are the books/resources I mentioned on top are the good way to start off? Or you have any books in mind for me to embark on the learning the basic of the Java and move on from there?

Any feedback is highly appreciated.

Thanks.

Regards,
Jenson
Kaydell Leavitt
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 18, 2006
Posts: 688

Hi Jenson,

First make sure that you have access to a computer that runs Java so that you can get your mind into writing code.

Secondly, here is a link to a free online book that I hear is very good. Try it and and if you want to you can buy it in hard-copy:

Thinking In Java

Starting here in the JavaRanch Beginner's forum is a good start. Java is a huge technnology. After assuring that you know the basics from the book "Thinking In Java", I would also check out the following link to frequently-asked questions (FAQ)) of the beginner's forum:

JavaRanch Beginner's Forum FAQ

Each forum on JavaRanch has a FAQ link.

After mastering "Thinking in Java", since Java is so huge, you might want to focus your studies by studying the exam objectives for the SCJA and/or the SCJP certificates.

SCJA & SCJP are certificate programs designed by Sun and there are forums by those names here on the Java Ranch. Each of these forums also have a FAQ link.

Kaydell
[ May 29, 2007: Message edited by: Kaydell Leavitt ]
Jenson Chew
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 27, 2007
Posts: 55
Hi Kaydell,

Thanks for the recommendations. The Beginner FAQ seems to have nothing much compared to Thinking in Java, I'm also trying to get two Java books from my friend too. I'm not sure whether it is the How to Program series from Deital & Deitel. Not sure how good their Java books are. What I'm sure is those two books that I'm getting is two different books. I will consult you or any other here again once I gotten the book. I would like to know whether they are two of the good ones to begin the Java learning with.

Thanks Kaydell!

Cheers,
Jenson
Campbell Ritchie
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 13, 2005
Posts: 36453
    
  15
There are two schools of thought about the Deitel and Deitel books. Some people (myself included) think they are an excellent introduction to a language, other people absolutely detest their style. You will have to try it and see. BTW: You will find the 5th and earlier editions rather out of date; there were major syntactical changes to Java after version 1.4.2 in version 5.0, which are only covered in the 6th or 7th editions.

BTW: Beware of books which have all their code inside a "main" method in most examples. It is convenient for printing because it uses less space on the page, but doesn't teach object-oriented programming. Deitel doesn't make that mistake. Unfortunately the Java Tutorial does, however good it is in other respects. The Java Tutorials are to be found here.
Raghavan Muthu
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 20, 2006
Posts: 3344

Hi Jenson,

Welcome to JavaRanch. Its absolutely no doubt to be called as a Great Resource for your Java related queries. I vouch.

I have also heard and seen the Dietel's book. The Core subject and the basics are covered nicely with a good explanation. But as Campbell told, beware of the syntax. I would suggest you to start off with Java 1.4.2 rather than 1.5 or 5.0 and other higher versions. The Java tutorial from Sun is of 6.0 at present in the website, but you can download the versions for 5.0 (Tiger) in the archives section.

For 1.4 version, i can suggest you a book "Beginning Java" by Ivor Horton with Wrox Publishers. Its a very good book you can consider using it.

Good luck!


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Campbell Ritchie
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 13, 2005
Posts: 36453
    
  15
I think you have misunderstood what I said, Raghavan Muthu. I said that Deitel and Deitel Java 5th edition was out of date. I disagree about Java 1.4 and 5; I wouldn't suggest anybody learn an old version of Java.
Jenson Chew
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 27, 2007
Posts: 55
Hmm..I'm currently been learning all the basics from Java 6 Tutorial available from the Sun Java site. Does that means I'm on the wrong path? Never know that Java Tutorial is not a very good source compared to Deitel & Deitel. Hmm, talking about the version of Java used in the books, I doubt that they are the latest one. Would Java 5 safe enough to use as a learning resources?

Any other online resources that I can learn the basics step by step? I hope to progress from one part to another, rather than jumping here and there, in other words, too many cross referencing.

Java tutorial is a bit daunting to me, and it seems to me that, for certain parts, the explanation and words are more than the chances offered for me to hands-on. I learnt quite a lot of theoretical stuff for quite a number of pages Yawning all the way until I can see the hands-on part once again.

But I continue to read and understand them, even though they are quite lengthy and wordy. I'm quite a detailed person and that make me read every single page in sequence in that Java 6 Tutorial.

Many people has recommeded a lof of ways for me to learn Java. They are quite valuable to me, thus, I have to carefully pick out the most suitable one for me to adopt in my Java learning.

Books with a lot of hands-on are my personal preference too, if they have real-life examples or hands-on project, I would love them too! Hehe, btw, is Deitel & Deitel known for its abundant of hands-on exercises too?
Kaydell Leavitt
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 18, 2006
Posts: 688

Are the Java SE 5 Tutorials still online at Sun's website?

Kaydell
Ulf Dittmer
Marshal

Joined: Mar 22, 2005
Posts: 39530
    
  27
Are the Java SE 5 Tutorials still online at Sun's website?


I think there is only one tutorial, and it gets updated as warranted by JDK releases. But looking at the TOC, there doesn't seem to be much, if any, Java 6-specific stuff in there (maybe a couple of Swing features).


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Campbell Ritchie
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 13, 2005
Posts: 36453
    
  15
I think the Java Tutorial has Console in as well, which is Java 6 specific, but there have been no changes to grammar or syntax between Java 5 and Java 6. If you get the Deitel book with the picture of a horse on the cover (7/e) or the ant leaping out of bed (6/e) they will cover all the latest syntax, although some of the newer classes will be missing. If you have the Deitel book with the ants building an arch on the cover, that only covers Java 1.4 and I regard that book as out of date.

The Java tutorial is one of the most comprehensive sources of Java code examples available anywhere; it is just a shame that they put everything into the main method so you never see objects instantiated, nor method calls on those objects, in the Java Tutorial. As Ulf Dittmer says, there is only one edition of the Java Tutorial available; why go for an old edition anyway? Yes, the Deitel books do have lots of examples; there are both worked examples in the text and lots of questions like
Jenson Chew
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 27, 2007
Posts: 55
Originally posted by Campbell Ritchie:
I think the Java Tutorial has Console in as well, which is Java 6 specific, but there have been no changes to grammar or syntax between Java 5 and Java 6. If you get the Deitel book with the picture of a horse on the cover (7/e) or the ant leaping out of bed (6/e) they will cover all the latest syntax, although some of the newer classes will be missing. If you have the Deitel book with the ants building an arch on the cover, that only covers Java 1.4 and I regard that book as out of date.

The Java tutorial is one of the most comprehensive sources of Java code examples available anywhere; it is just a shame that they put everything into the main method so you never see objects instantiated, nor method calls on those objects, in the Java Tutorial. As Ulf Dittmer says, there is only one edition of the Java Tutorial available; why go for an old edition anyway? Yes, the Deitel books do have lots of examples; there are both worked examples in the text and lots of questions like


Hmm...wouldn't that defeat the idea of object orinted programming?
Jinny Morris
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 29, 2007
Posts: 101
Eeeep! I just downloaded the "latest" version of the Java JDK from the Sun site a couple of weeks ago - Java 5 - and didn't know it was out of date already ...

I have been using Head First Java by Sierra and Bates in conjunction with volume 1 of "core Java" by Horstmann and have found the combination to work pretty well. The only "problem" I have had with the Sierra and Bates book is that it actually requires some work on my part (!) - somehow I hadn't expected that from the format ...
Campbell Ritchie
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 13, 2005
Posts: 36453
    
  15
Defeat the object of OO programming? If you mean putting everything in the main method is not OO programming, then I agree with you. You can always copy the code into a proper OO framework.

And as Jinny Morris found out, programming does require a lot of work.
Jenson Chew
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 27, 2007
Posts: 55
Originally posted by Campbell Ritchie:
Defeat the object of OO programming? If you mean putting everything in the main method is not OO programming, then I agree with you. You can always copy the code into a proper OO framework.

And as Jinny Morris found out, programming does require a lot of work.


Yes, I like to work on it instead of reading it, practices make me understand the concept more. But certain sections of Java Tutorial from Sun Java website is quite wordy and lengthy, which I don't really like, and then after that, they straightaway jump into the exercise and requested you to know how to write a pages long class for each question given. Maybe I'm just dumb for not able to understand it and write a class out of my mind

Yes, Campbell, I mean putting everything in the main, seems to be that it defeat the purpose of the OOP idea. Hmm..
arulk pillai
Author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 31, 2007
Posts: 3216
[*]The learning process varies from person to person. Some like to learn the fundamentals first before getting their hands dirty and the others like to get their hands dirty first. You need find out which way works best for you.

[*]Have good mentors at work or via forums like this

[*]As far as books are concerned some like more pictures and examples with less theory and others like more exercises etc. Go to a book shop and flip through some of the books on fundamentals and see which one you like the best.

e.g. Beginning Java by Ivor Horton, Head First Series, Bruce Eckel's book, Diettel & Deittel etc.

Once you have the passion to learn, you will find many ways to do so.


Good Luck.


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Kaydell Leavitt
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 18, 2006
Posts: 688

When deciding which version of Java to use, for my purposes, Java 1.4 (aka 4.0) is too old, Java 6.0 is too new and Java 5.0 is just right.

I may have to do my SCJD project in 6.0 but that project is "make believe". In my world, 5.0 is what I need (even though the 5.0 tutorials have disappeared from Sun's websites). At least Sun can't come and take my 5.0 books away.

Even though Sun's tutorials require Java 6.0, Sun still offers SCJP certification in Java 1.4 (aka 4.0).

Do that make any sense?

Kaydell
[ May 31, 2007: Message edited by: Kaydell Leavitt ]
Jenson Chew
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 27, 2007
Posts: 55
haha, btw, my friend only have Java 1.4 books and not even 1.5, thus I have no luck in getting two free copies of Java books from him. Have to fork out money to get the latest or at least 1.5. I do have a 1.5 version of J2EE book. Not sure whether it will help me anywhere in my Java learning.

Btw, it's "Beginning Java EE 5: From Novice to Professional" , I wonder I should learn it or not. Would it benefit my Java learning too?

I have another book, "Data Structure and Algorithm in Java". Too many books left untouched >.<"
 
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