How much programming knowledge should one have before diving into this book? I've been away from compiled languages for many years now, having focused on web scripting (mostly CF). Safe to say I'm more than a little rusty.
This book has no prerequisites. The goal is to help people with no programming experience and people who have some experience and want to get up to speed with Java pretty quickly.
To make it easier, the book uses the free NetBeans integrated development environment in the development of each hour's programs (though other tools can be used as well). I think NetBeans is the easiest programming tool to learn the language on, especially since the user interface has stayed the same for a long time.