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Search in Book Reviews

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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Java Programming for the absolute beginner
Joseph P Russell
0 7615 3522 5
502 pages+CD
Greg Billington
Appeared in:
When this book says it is aimed at the absolute beginner it means beginner to programming rather than a programmer with no experience of Java. That makes it even worse. Making the topic interesting by gradually building up examples that are games is a good concept but the book does not execute the concept very well.

In practice the book launches into Java and programming in too complex a fashion for the total beginner, there are lots of abbreviations (often not explained) and it discusses terms and concepts that are not explained until a much later and do not need to be introduced this early. It seems odd to be using terms like how many bitsa data type has without explaining the term, particularly considering the audience of this book. References to hex and octal are not explained and as you go into chapter 3 it covers methods of the random and math class before covering how to use "if" and even what classes are. The flow and structure of this book does not feel right; covering try/catch and the basics of exception handling on page 39 of a 500 page book seems a tad early for the total novice.

The general jokey examples e.g. snippets of Metallica lyrics and how to add comments around them, a fortune teller routine demonstrating random numbers that prints text such as "You will talk to someone who has bad breath" doesn't give this book much of a professional sheen. It may well attract young kids who want to write (or hack) games on their PC but I cannot see it being interesting to anyone else.

On the positive side, it visually looks nice: good font, nicely shaded and laid out tables, screenshots etc and the included CD ROM has the Java SDK and the source code for the games.

Overall not recommended.