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Can people recommend some books for the absolute beginner?

F Hilbert
Greenhorn

Joined: Nov 11, 2009
Posts: 2
Hello everyone. I am an absolute beginner to java in general. When I say that, I mean it. That is no experience in programming or any other language, non technical background, the works. The most I have done is some elementary scripting in STATA, which is mostly used for statistics.

Now, I have done my search of this forum, but most of the beginners who want book recommendations, have some programming experience (C++ etc), and are not as clueless as I am. I have been trying to read up on Java on my own free time, but most of the books I have my hands on assume a prior programming background, which I lack.

Are there any books one can recommend to me that

1. assume no prior programming experience whatsoever. Not even a little.

2. Points out the little bits of information that most programmers consider obvious, but happens to completely escape me. Preferably flashes a big sign and goes over these trivia ad nauseum.

3. Is geared to people of non technical background. No CS, math, physics degrees needed!

A book I am looking for would probably have some title like " Java for Warm bodies", or " Java so easy even a Caveman can do it", and goes through the very basics, before even Hello World levels.

I greatly appreciate your help!
Siva Masilamani
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 19, 2008
Posts: 385
I would recommend Head First java


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W. Joe Smith
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 10, 2009
Posts: 710
Head First Java is good, but it does assume you have a little experience. Not a whole lot, but knowing the basics of if-else statements, and the basic concepts of looping should suffice.

You could also pick up SAMS Teach Yourself: Programming with Java. It isn't bad to get your feet wet, but I personally found it not very good for much else.


SCJA
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F Hilbert
Greenhorn

Joined: Nov 11, 2009
Posts: 2
I actually have Head First Java, but floundered around the middle, then started forgetting bits and peices, and kept getting distracted by the funny insert pics when searching for info. And it does assume some programming, and my programming background does not even include HTML, as said in the Who should probably back away from this book page. Its a pretty good book that I should pick up and complete once I get more experienced.

I should probably take a look at the Sams book. Read Sams teach yourself Java in 24 hours, did all the examples, realised I could write all the examples, but nothing else! Good book for teaching all those examples though. Thank you for the suggestions, keep them coming.
Embla Tingeling
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 22, 2009
Posts: 237
F Hilbert wrote:A book I am looking for would probably have some title like " Java for Warm bodies", or " Java so easy even a Caveman can do it", and goes through the very basics, before even Hello World levels.


It may sound like a joke but Sun has a developer's site for children. Maybe that's something for you,

http://java.sun.com/new2java/learning/young_developers.jsp
Campbell Ritchie
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 13, 2005
Posts: 39885
    
  28
I don't like the SAMS Teach Yourself books myself.
Barry Burd is very good at explaining code, but has the same drawback as the SAMS books: lots of code in the main method so you don't see enough object-oriented programming.
Try the Deitel books: consider the "Java How To" 6th edition which has been out for nearly 5 years, so you can pick up lots of second-hand copies. If there is an "early objects" and "late objects" choice, go for "early objects".
The most comprehensive resource of all is probably the Java Tutorials, even though they write lots in the main method too. Here's the "common problems" page, because you will probably have a problem listed in there within 2 hours of starting

But, the most important suggestion is:

All authors and all series have their own characteristic styles. Look at a copy before buying anything and see whether you like the style.
W. Joe Smith
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 10, 2009
Posts: 710
F Hilbert wrote:I actually have Head First Java, but floundered around the middle, then started forgetting bits and peices, and kept getting distracted by the funny insert pics when searching for info. And it does assume some programming, and my programming background does not even include HTML, as said in the Who should probably back away from this book page. Its a pretty good book that I should pick up and complete once I get more experienced.

I should probably take a look at the Sams book. Read Sams teach yourself Java in 24 hours, did all the examples, realised I could write all the examples, but nothing else! Good book for teaching all those examples though. Thank you for the suggestions, keep them coming.


HFJ does get a little meaty around the middle. If you got through I'd say the first 5 or 6 chapters, spend some time rereading them, writing small programs that do random things, you should be able to poke your way further in.
W. Joe Smith
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 10, 2009
Posts: 710
Campbell Ritchie wrote:I don't like the SAMS Teach Yourself books myself.
Barry Burd is very good at explaining code, but has the same drawback as the SAMS books: lots of code in the main method so you don't see enough object-oriented programming.
Try the Deitel books: consider the "Java How To" 6th edition which has been out for nearly 5 years, so you can pick up lots of second-hand copies. If there is an "early objects" and "late objects" choice, go for "early objects".
The most comprehensive resource of all is probably the Java Tutorials, even though they write lots in the main method too. Here's the "common problems" page, because you will probably have a problem listed in there within 2 hours of starting

But, the most important suggestion is:

All authors and all series have their own characteristic styles. Look at a copy before buying anything and see whether you like the style.


Yeah, Sams is taken with a grain of salt, in my opinion. I mean, it gets you writing code, but if you wrote code the same way in the real world other programmers might start crying when they have to maintain the code.
Maneesh Godbole
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jul 26, 2007
Posts: 10523
    
    9

When I started out, I used Herbert Schildt's Complete Reference. I found a bit rushed with that. It also requires some programing knowledge.
I still like Core Java series by Horstmann. I found it very easy to follow and learn. Lot of examples and explanation of minor points.


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Campbell Ritchie
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 13, 2005
Posts: 39885
    
  28
I agree Horstmann is a really good book. But do you think it is suitable for a raw beginner?
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://aspose.com/file-tools
 
subject: Can people recommend some books for the absolute beginner?