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The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1949 reviews in the database and more every month.
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Problem Solving with Java
Elliot Koffman&Ursula Wolz
0 201 35743 7
Roger N Lever
Appeared in:
This is an introductory text aimed at beginners. It does not assume any knowledge of computing or programming and starts by providing a gentle introduction to computers, their components, networks and some programming languages. Following on from this is an introduction to the software development method and then into various chapters devoted to subjects such as methods, statements, selection (if...) and repetition (while...) structures. Once these have been mastered it is onto subjects such as GUIs (AWT), object oriented design, applets, recursion and linked data structures (linked lists, stacks...).

The text is clear and well presented with a gentle reasonably logical progression on subjects. Each chapter is laid out with the main content, a chapter review, simple self-check questions (with answers) and then programming questions with answers in the back of the book. For additional interest, interspersed between various chapters are interviews with various notable computer scientists such as James Gosling. The source code is included within the text of the book but the simple nature of the examples means that there is a suitable balance between code snippets and explanatory text. The so-called case studies are the usual sort of introductory material such as the area of a circle, conversions and simple payroll.

For those who are already familiar with the basics of programming much of the material will be too simple to provide significant value. For those who are absolute beginners and need to understand basic constructs and want to learn via Java (1.1) then this is a useful book. It adds value by interweaving into each chapter a short description of a number of useful topics such as common programming errors, analysis of algorithms and defensive programming. However, given this book is based on 1.1 (AWT) it would benefit from an update, particularly in terms of Swing classes.