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Thinking in Java 4th Ed any good?

Lloyd Blake

Joined: Dec 24, 2008
Posts: 6
I want to purchase this book but I've read mix reviews what's the 'java ranch' opinion of this book?
Campbell Ritchie

Joined: Oct 13, 2005
Posts: 45410
Welcome to the Ranch

If you google, you can find copies of the 3rd edition on the net, and read them. The 4th edition is similar. A few things jar, eg
  • Eckel has some utility classes which you use in many of his examples, so it may be necessary to understand those classes before you can understand the examples.
  • His handling of exceptions is completely different in the 4th edition, so you can see how he has changed his opinion.
  • Some of his examples show which method is invoked and the methods simply say "System.out.println("Method 1");"
  • I think somewhere (but am probably mistaken) he implies that constructors are static.
  • I found it helpful, but don't think it is a beginner's book.
    Jesper de Jong
    Java Cowboy
    Saloon Keeper

    Joined: Aug 16, 2005
    Posts: 15046

    Welcome to JavaRanch!

    We have lots of book reviews in The Bunkhouse, but as far as I can see no review of the 4th edition of Thinking in Java. The 3rd edition is available for free. Note that the 3rd edition is about Java 1.4, so it doesn't contain information about all the new features of Java 5 and 6 (especially Java 5 was a major update with lots of new features).

    Sun's Java Tutorials are a good set of up-to-date online tutorials for Java.

    Java Beginners FAQ - JavaRanch SCJP FAQ - The Java Tutorial - Java SE 8 API documentation
    Fred Hamilton
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: May 13, 2009
    Posts: 679
    Eckel is ok, he has an interesting and somewhat different approach to java which I found helpful when I needed additional insights into interfaces, abstract classes, polymorphism, etc.

    But, and it's a pretty big but, in my opinion he plays fast and loose with terminology, which could easily be confusing to a beginner, or someone who struggles with semantics

    Perhaps one of the mods would care to comment on this aspect of Eckel.

    I agree. Here's the link:
    subject: Thinking in Java 4th Ed any good?
    It's not a secret anymore!