I would first like to say I came across your lovely website via the book Head First Java, while I am excited to continue with this book. I fear I lack some of the ground work necessary for it. I will be honest I have done very little to almost no programming. I made it a few chapters into a beginners guide to python before wanting to move on to Java(various reasons, but mostly what the work force is currently looking for in my company and area). What I am looking for is an extremely base intro to programming/Java book that I can read along with the Head First book. I tried doing some search through the forums themselves, but I seemed to mainly come across books that require some base knowledge etc. I am sure I could take the time to comb over the internet trying to search out that which I do not understand in the book.. but I feel as though I would do myself an injustice in learning the basics. Its ok if it is fairly boring, I can grind through it so that I can get onto the Head First book, I sit in operations right now and stare at Programmable Logic Controllers daily so boring is my middle name right now.
I learned the syntax of Java very well from reading Ivor Horton's Beginning Java - it's a giant tome and he explains every nook and cranny of the language, leaving nothing to the imagination. When I started I had next to no programming experience and this book worked for me.
Usually, Head First Java is quite a popular book among beginners. But then its a personal choice. I would suggest you try out this tutorial. It starts from the very basics. Another thing- Do not use an IDE initially. Use a text editor like Notepad++ etc.. and try compiling / executing simple examples using the command prompt. That way you understand how stuff works under the hood. The following are a list of basic concepts that I suggest a beginner should be clear with inside out:
a) Declaration and Access Control
c) OOPS concepts like Polymorphism, Abstraction, Inheritance etc.
d) Instance members, class members and primitive types
e) Flow control constructs like do-while / for loop/ for-each
f) Method declaration, overloading and overriding
g) Exception class in Java, checked and unchecked exceptions
Devote 2 hours of your time daily to studying these one by one. Make note of the doubts you have, try solving them the best you can. If you face any issues, ask for directions on the forum. But make sure you do your homework. Always happy to help.
Thank you all for taking the time to reply, as for what I mean by missing the basics.. well I'll be honest I am not sure what all I am missing as I am not entirely sure what I should know ;) I will start with list given, the links and the book suggested and plague you all as the questions arise.