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sequence of Head First series - which?

Ty Oftrans
Greenhorn

Joined: Dec 14, 2005
Posts: 7
Hi all!

I am one of those fortunate guys who read some of the reviews for "Head First Java", "... Design Patterns", etc. and bought the first one ("... Java"). Java makes now sense. Bert, Kathy - thank you!
I would like to ask for a bit of advice on the sequence (order) of reading these books which you think would be most logical. Of course, you can assume I start with "Head First Java" and intend to build on it by going through the entire series.
I do understand that they lead into slightly different directions, but please assume that I am prepared to cover all the ground they cover and get certified. It's just that I am not sure which would be better to pick up immediately after Head First Java. Should it be "HF Design Patterns", "HF EJB", or "HF Serverlets & JSP"? Or maybe I should jump out of the series once I finish "HF Java" (to return at a later date) and pick up "Sun Certified Java Programmer & developer Study Guide" (or something similar)? Or is there another path that someone would suggest?
If any of you is kind enough to reply, can you please give me a logical sequence of the HF series and separately a sequence of this series combined with other books (even if is based only on a logical sequence of the subjects one needs to go through).
Again, I do understand that these subjects lead into slightly different directions, but still, which subject (book) is more likely to build on the other?
I hope my questions do not sound to dumb, but even if they do, please give me some feed back.
Many thanks to all who would bother to help!
Ty

P.S. I did post this message under a couple of subheadings of the forum as I was not sure would be more appropriate for the post. Sorry if I abused your web space.
Bert Bates
author
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8883
    
    5
Hi Ty,

We're glad that you're enjoying HF Java - we had a lot of fun writing it

It sounds like you're interested in pursing the Sun Java certifications. IF you want to get certified in servlets or EJBs you have to have your SCJP certification first, so that's a good place to start. We just finished updating the so-called "K&B" book, (Our SCJP certification book which is published by Osborne). If you want to study for the SCJP 1.5 exam, which is the newest exam, you'll have to wait for a couple of weeks for that book to be in the stores. (The last we've heard is that it should be in some stores before the end of the year!) If you want to go with the 1.4 exam there are several good books out there. (We like ours of course, but there is a really good book by an author named Mughal too.) Personally, I'd recommend the new exam because it covers 95% of what's on the old exam, plus it covers an additional 30% new and important topics.

After you have your SCJP you can go several ways. The SCJ Developers certification is a really good one. Our book covers some of what you need to know, but if you go after that certification we really recommend the book that was co-authored by Mehran Habibi. The SCJD book authored by Andrew Monkhouse is also supposed to be good, but we haven't read it, so you might want to check the reviews at the bunkhouse. Again, our SCJP book does have some "bonus" chapters on the SCJD exam, but they not intended to be a complete guide for that certification!

If you want to just become a better OO programmer, and you like the HF series, then the Design Patterns book would be a good choice. If it takes you a few months before you're ready to jump into more advanced OO stuff, then it's quite likely that there will be another HF book available, HF OO. This book is meant to be read after HF Java and before HF Design Patterns, and it's almost done.

It's really hard to say whether it's better to tackle servlets before EJBs. I really think it has more to do with your interests or your job requirements. But again, remember that from a certification perspective, you have to get your SCJP first, before you can go after either of these.

Lots of people ask us about the Web Services certification, and at this point we have no plans to write a book on this topic. Frankly, we think that this set of technologies is still unstable, and we want to see it mature and stabilize before we dive in. If you do want to go that way we would recommend the book by Richard Monson-Heafel.

We really, really like J2ME, and if we were rich it would probably be the book we'd write for fun Alas, we have to pay the bills, so we're just waiting for J2ME to catch on a little more.

hth,

Bert


Spot false dilemmas now, ask me how!
(If you're not on the edge, you're taking up too much room.)
Ty Oftrans
Greenhorn

Joined: Dec 14, 2005
Posts: 7
Bert,

Many thanks for your prompt/vast reply! I think I know how busy you are, and this makes your reply even more the subject of my gratitude. I think you gave me some nice direction.

In the following few lines I will take advantage of the patience I saw you manifesting on different occasions on the forum. I will summarize the steps I think I understand would make a good logical progression in a Java programming/devel. career:

As I now understand, once I ((1)) finish going through HFJ, it is a good idea to ((2)) pick up the new 'K&B' on Java 5, in order to ((3)) pursue the SCJP certification (or could I just go for this without the 'K&B'? - probably not getting it is not a good idea if I want to do well, or is it?). Once that is done, ((4)) get the new HF OO (provide it is out on shelves), followed by ((5)) HF DP.
Now, if at this point I want to progress further, an excellent first step forward would be ((7)) the SCJD exam, prepared using ((6)) Mehran's book on it.

Two-three questions at this point, if I am not asking for too much:
1) Would HF DP be more useful once I went through SCJD, or the preparation for this second certification would make more sense once I understood Design Patterns first? [I guess one could say "for crying out loud, whether you read one first and the other one second, ... just read them!"]
2) I know the progression on Sun's site doesn't necessarily suggest this, but would a general developer's certification such as SCJD be a good (non-compulsory) prerequisite before moving toward SCBCD or SCWCD?
3) Is the order of things suggested above correct, or some corrections would be required for the 'best possible recipe' - I understood that a lot depends on personal or professional preference/requirements, but even so ... .

I hope (again) this questions will not be regarded as the epitome of dumb questions, but after struggling for months to find the right book for a beginner and following one wrong advice after the other, I just don't want to end up doing the same when it comes to following the right progression in this line of work.
Many thanks again for the time you spend answering this kind of questions!

Ty
Bert Bates
author
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8883
    
    5
Hey Ty -

Well it turns out your timing was good! Having just finished the tiger cert book I have a little spare time

If you want to go for the SCJD I think theHFOO and HFDP books would be good to read in conjunction with that pursuit, although they were not written specifically for that reason.

Your question about which certs to pursue next is a tough one. First off, I don't consider myself any kind of expert, and I'm sure you could create lots of debate here

That said, I'll offer my guarded opinion. Here's the order in which I'd pursue the Java certifications if you've a mind to collect a bunch of them:

1 - SCJP
2 - SCWCD - this is probably the most broadly useful at this point
3 - SCJD - Good for your skills in general
4 - SCMAD ? Maybe? It's a personal favorite, and we keep hoping this will take off soon.
5 - SCBCD Until the new spec comes out this is a really unsettled area
6 - SCDJWS - Hmm... I don't like this stuff yet, but if you do you might want to raise its priority

hth,

Bert

p.s. The HF team is also working on a book for AJAX, which is a pretty hot topic right now. (And AJAX in Action is getting great reviews)

p.p.s. Another technology that seems hot right now is Ruby on Rails. Don't shoot me, I know it's not a Java technology, but I think it's got a place in situations where Java technologies might be a bit of overkill.

p.p.p.s HF HTML & CSS was just released, and we think it's gonna be a great book! (We can say that, we didn't write it ). Having a good solid foundation in HTML and CSS is almost certainly a good thing no matter what direction you head.
[ December 15, 2005: Message edited by: Bert Bates ]
Ty Oftrans
Greenhorn

Joined: Dec 14, 2005
Posts: 7
Bert,
I just can not believe you already replied. I love the fact that you threw in your personal opinion on how the list could make a good sequence.
So SCWCD before SCJD would be better (I understood this is your preference/opinion, but this is good enough for me).
Also the fact that you went through the list of future HF books is great. I need though to stick my finger into the AJAX and Ruby on Rail pies, because at the moment I haven't got a clue what they can be eaten with.
Really appreciate the replies, Bert! I will try to use the advice given so far and not bother you too much anymore (at least on this subject), but if you have some more stuff that you think may be useful for people like me on this subject, please do post it. I'll keep me eyes on the post and also point some of my colleagues to it.
Many, many thanks!
Ty

p.s: Sorry, I just have to say it again: LOVE HFJ and the rest of the HF series (at least what I can see into it so far). Thanks Katy & Bert + rest of your colleagues - hope one day they could lay their eyes on my words of appreciation.
Anjali S Sharma
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 29, 2005
Posts: 279
Hi Bert
When is HFOO coming up?
I am eager to have a look at HF HTML,CSS and XHTML but I think its still not available in India
Dave Wood
bronco
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 02, 2004
Posts: 161
Greetings Anjali and Ty,

Had lunch with Bert today and he mentioned that there was some discussion of HFO on JavaRanch...I'm guessing this was the post he was referring to!

Head First Objects is getting close! Unfortunately, it's being written by someone with a full-time job, 2 young kids, etc. so it's not moving along quite as quickly as some of the other HF books have! My best guess right now is that it will be on the shelves in March or April.

HTH,
-Dave


Co-Author of <a href="http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/jswing2" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Java Swing</a><br />Co-Creator of <a href="http://www.sun.com/training/catalog/courses/CX-310-055.xml" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">SCJP 5.0</a> and <a href="http://www.sun.com/training/certification/java/associate_beta.xml" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">SCJA</a> exams
Mike Hudek
Greenhorn

Joined: Dec 31, 2005
Posts: 17
Hi there,

I've recently received my brand-spanking-new copy of Head First HTML with CSS and XHTML ... and it is every bit as wonderful as I was hoping it would be! I just love these Head First texts!

Of particular interest, on page iv it lists, in the "Other books in O'Reilly's Head First Series":

Head First PHP &MySQL (2006)
Head First JavaScript (2006)
Head Rush Ajax (2006)[/LIST]

Hmmmm. It doesn't list Head First Objects - one I'm really looking forward to.

But it does list Head First JavaScript - a title that I hadn't had any information about it preparation or imminent release!

Any one out there in the Head First team that can clarify the likely publishing date of these books?

Many thanks!

Kind regards

Mike


Mike
Dave Wood
bronco
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 02, 2004
Posts: 161
Mike,

I'm glad to hear you're looking forward to HFO! I can't give you an exact date (of course), but it should be early spring. Most of the book is written...lots of edits still to be made.

I'm not really sure why it wasn't listed in the HTML book, to be honest. I believe AJAX is also looking like early Spring, but I don't know too much about that. No clue on the others...perhaps Bert has a better idea.

Thanks for your interest.
Anjali S Sharma
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 29, 2005
Posts: 279
When will the Indian Edition of Head First HTML with CSS and XHTML be available. I have checked in a few bookstores and it is still not there. Can the authors please update me on this.
Thanks
Samuel Allen
Greenhorn

Joined: Feb 15, 2006
Posts: 2
I'm a huge fan of the HF series. I've gone through the HF Java, and have HF xHTML & CSS in the mail, with the HF AJAX on pre-order. But my most pressing need is to get my LAMP chops up.

I suspect, given the title, it only covers the M and P of LAMP, but can you comment on approximately when HF: PHP & MySQL is expected to ship?

I understand you can't give hard dates, but I've got some potential work coming up and if the timing is right... well, it could make a big difference.

Thanks in advance,
Sam
Bert Bates
author
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8883
    
    5
Man, I can't keep track of all these forums

Somewhere, recently, I mentioned that we were going to have a big HF powwow next week. So I think that in about 2 weeks we may have some updated news about timing for upcoming titles - stay tuned!

hth,

Bert
Samuel Allen
Greenhorn

Joined: Feb 15, 2006
Posts: 2
Will do. Thanks for the heads up. Incidentally, what are the other forums where HF stuff is discussed?
Michael Hall
Greenhorn

Joined: Dec 17, 2005
Posts: 21
Just going through HFO the second time. I just tried to compile the BeatBox code at the end of chapter 13 on page 402 and am getting the following error message.

"BeatBox.java uses unchecked or unsafe operations. Recompile with -Xlint:unchecked for details"

Not sure about the format right now i'm typing

javac -d ..\classes BeatBox.java

could someone help me with this. According to the javac listing -X prints a synopsis of nonstandard commands?
Michael Hall
Greenhorn

Joined: Dec 17, 2005
Posts: 21
Correction - In the prior post I said I was going thru HFO the 2nd time. I should have said I was going thru Head First Java the 2nd time. I don't even have HFO yet.
Dave Wood
bronco
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 02, 2004
Posts: 161
I was worried for a second that there was a black-market copy of my book out on the internet already!

As for the compiler warning...it sounds like you've got the 1st edition of HF Java which was written before Java 5 was released. But you're using Java 5 to compile. This should be fine, but you'll get those warnings as a result of using the pre-generics collections (generics were introduced in Java 5).

HTH,
-Dave
Michael Hall
Greenhorn

Joined: Dec 17, 2005
Posts: 21
Thanks for the reply - I searched on Xlint and found a prior message relating to it and figured out how to type the command correctly and it complied and ran ok. - Thanks..
Michael Hall
Greenhorn

Joined: Dec 17, 2005
Posts: 21
Regarding the Head First Java book I am trying to get the QuizCardPlayer program in chapter 14 to work. I was able to get the QuizCardBuilder to work by adding the following inner class and main -

public class QuizCard{
String stringQuestion;
String stringAnswer;
public QuizCard(String stringQuestion,String stringAnswer){
this.stringQuestion=stringQuestion;
this.stringAnswer=stringAnswer;
}
public String getQuestion(){
return this.stringQuestion;
}
public String getAnswer(){
return this.stringAnswer;
}
}
public static void main(String[] args){
QuizCardBuilder quizCardBuilder=new QuizCardBuilder();
quizCardBuilder.go();
}

As I said that works ok. However while adding the same with appropriate changes to main to the QuizCardPlayer program I can't get that program to display the question in the JTextArea even tho the information from the file created by QuizCardBuilder is getting loaded into the ArrayList in QuizCardPlayer. The command
display.setText(currentCard.getQuestion());

where display is JTextArea display; that has been added to a JScrollPane with a JScrollPane(display) does not do anything. No output on the JTextArea at all. Everything else seems to be working ok. Also looking up JTextArea in documentation I can't find a setText() method.? Do the authors have any feedback on this or anyone else? Thank You.
Michael Hall
Greenhorn

Joined: Dec 17, 2005
Posts: 21
Trying to debug the problem in the prior post I removed a lot of code not related to the problem and tried the code below.

//JTextAreaTest
import java.util.*;
import java.awt.event.*;
import javax.swing.*;
import java.awt.*;
import java.io.*;

public class JTextAreaTest{
private JTextArea display;
private JFrame frame;
private JButton nextButton;

public void go(){
frame=new JFrame("JTextArea Text");
JPanel mainPanel=new JPanel();
Font bigFont=new Font("sanserif",Font.BOLD,24);
display=new JTextArea(10,50);
display.setFont(bigFont);
display.setLineWrap(true);
display.setWrapStyleWord(true);
display.setEditable(false);
JScrollPane qScroller=new JScrollPane(display);
qScroller.setVerticalScrollBarPolicy(ScrollPaneConstants.VERTICAL_SCROLLBAR_ALWAYS);
qScroller.setHorizontalScrollBarPolicy(ScrollPaneConstants.HORIZONTAL_SCROLLBAR_NEVER);
nextButton=new JButton("Display Text");
mainPanel.add(qScroller);
mainPanel.add(nextButton);
nextButton.addActionListener(new NextButtonListener());
frame.getContentPane().add(BorderLayout.CENTER,mainPanel);
frame.setSize(400,500);
frame.setVisible(true);
}
public class NextButtonListener implements ActionListener{
public void actionPerformed(ActionEvent ev){
display.setText("This is a test");
display.setVisible(true);//I added this thinking it might help but no
}
}
public static void main(String[] args){
JTextAreaTest jtextareatest=new JTextAreaTest();
jtextareatest.go();
}
}

As I said in the prior post this displays nothing in the JTextArea. Can anyone tell me why not?
Thanks...
Michael Hall
Greenhorn

Joined: Dec 17, 2005
Posts: 21
Forget the button - even this does not display anything -

//JTextAreaTest

import javax.swing.*;
import java.awt.*;


public class JTextAreaTest{
private JTextArea display;
private JFrame frame;

public void go(){
frame=new JFrame("JTextArea Test");
JPanel mainPanel=new JPanel();
Font bigFont=new Font("sanserif",Font.BOLD,24);
display=new JTextArea(10,50);
display.setFont(bigFont);
display.setLineWrap(true);
display.setWrapStyleWord(true);
display.setEditable(true);
display.setText("This is a test");//why does not this show up?
JScrollPane qScroller=new JScrollPane(display);
qScroller.setVerticalScrollBarPolicy(ScrollPaneConstants.VERTICAL_SCROLLBAR_ALWAYS);
qScroller.setHorizontalScrollBarPolicy(ScrollPaneConstants.HORIZONTAL_SCROLLBAR_NEVER);
mainPanel.add(qScroller);
frame.getContentPane().add(BorderLayout.CENTER,mainPanel);
frame.setSize(400,500);
frame.setVisible(true);
}
public static void main(String[] args){
JTextAreaTest jtextareatest=new JTextAreaTest();
jtextareatest.go();
}
}

Why doesn't "This is a Test" show up in the JTextArea? This is the problem I am experiencing with the code in chapter 14 of Head First Java book. Need Help... Thanks
Pauline McNamara
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 19, 2001
Posts: 4012
    
    6
Uh oh.

Michael, your posts are kind of buried in a thread that doesn't deal with questions specific to code in Head First Java.

Could you start a fresh new thread with those questions please? (You might even want to do that over in the Java in General forum, where there's more talk of code, as opposed to general ramblings about books. )

Another tip: when you post code, there's a way to help your code keep it's formatting, making it much easier to read. Just under where you type your question in there a list of "Instant UBB Code" buttons - the one marked "code" will do the trick.

Cheers,
Pauline
[ February 26, 2006: Message edited by: Pauline McNamara ]
Michael Hall
Greenhorn

Joined: Dec 17, 2005
Posts: 21
It's not the setText - Even this displays nothing -

//JTextAreaTest

import javax.swing.*;
import java.awt.*;

public class JTextAreaTest{
private JTextArea display;
private JFrame frame;

public void go(){
frame=new JFrame("JTextArea Test");
JPanel mainPanel=new JPanel();
Font bigFont=new Font("sanserif",Font.BOLD,24);
display=new JTextArea("THIS IS A TEST",10,50);//forget the setText()
JScrollPane qScroller=new JScrollPane(display);
qScroller.setVerticalScrollBarPolicy(ScrollPaneConstants.VERTICAL_SCROLLBAR_ALWAYS);
qScroller.setHorizontalScrollBarPolicy(ScrollPaneConstants.HORIZONTAL_SCROLLBAR_NEVER);
mainPanel.add(qScroller);
frame.getContentPane().add(BorderLayout.CENTER,mainPanel);
frame.setSize(400,500);
frame.setVisible(true);
}
public static void main(String[] args){
JTextAreaTest jtextareatest=new JTextAreaTest();
jtextareatest.go();
}
}

Why Not?
Michael Hall
Greenhorn

Joined: Dec 17, 2005
Posts: 21
Ok Pauline - I just read your post. Thanks - I'll move it over there.
Pauline McNamara
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 19, 2001
Posts: 4012
    
    6
Thank you, and, by the way, welcome to JavaRanch!
[ February 26, 2006: Message edited by: Pauline McNamara ]
Jessica Ngui
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 24, 2004
Posts: 57
Hi Bert,

I read with much interest on your recommendation on the certifications sequence. I would like to know where would you insert the SCEA in that list?

Thanks and Have a nice day...!


http://www.jessicajournal.com/
Bert Bates
author
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8883
    
    5
I think maybe I'd make SCJD and SCEA a tie for 3rd - it kind of depends what you want to do.
Jessica Ngui
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 24, 2004
Posts: 57
<....it kind of depends what you want to do.>

Can you please elabrorate on the above? Between SCJD and SCEA?
j beltz
Greenhorn

Joined: May 26, 2004
Posts: 3
Just curious. Any updates on the release of Head First JavaScript?
Also, will this be more of a beginner's book or a best practices that could also help experienced users?

Thanks & keep up the good work! I love all the HF books.
Bert Bates
author
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8883
    
    5
HF Javascript has been started, but it's still in the early stages. As you might imagine, HF books are kind of weird to write, and a lot of really good authors have started HF books and then decided that it was just too weird to continue

Our new policy is to wait until the books are further along before announcing dates, so when Javascript does get further along, you'll hear about it here at the ranch.

My guess is that the Javascript book will have more emphasis teaching a very solid foundation - the basics - and then spend some time on more advanced topics, perhaps including best practices, but I haven't seen the finalized TOC yet.

When we have more info, we'll let you guys know!

hth,

Bert
Vivie Moraiti
Greenhorn

Joined: May 23, 2006
Posts: 1
Hello Bert!!!

I purchased HF Java , just trying my luck , because I seem I cant learn properly java...I know a lot of things ,but confused!!

Your book is the best so far!! I've been feeling like my head's clearer and now I can understand a lot , even C++!!!(c++ and java are for me along with a bunch of other programming languages required to learn at my college )

So I wanted to thank you so much , you're like a great teacher , and for me being Hard of Hearing , it helped me tremendously!!!

So I have a few questions...would HF OO help me with programming?
will be an HF C++ be published?
and a HF SQL I hope too!!!

I absolutely loved the 'interviews' at the book , and the funny stories...
so I hopped over there to see , sure that there were more at the javaranch....to get a bit dissapointed ,there aren't many stories....

Again many many thanks!!!
 
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