Head First Java: Your Brain on Java- A Learner's Guide

Head First Java: Your Brain on Java- A Learner's Guide

by Bert Bates, Kathy Sierra
     
 

Between Moore's law and the notion of "Internet time," we're constantly being bombarded with more and more information—most of it in the form of disorganized data. Turning this information into useful knowledge is getting harder and harder to do, and it takes time that we just don't have. The current economic situation hasn't helped either. With money spread

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Overview

Between Moore's law and the notion of "Internet time," we're constantly being bombarded with more and more information—most of it in the form of disorganized data. Turning this information into useful knowledge is getting harder and harder to do, and it takes time that we just don't have. The current economic situation hasn't helped either. With money spread thin, who hasn't had to take on new tasks and learn new things? And slashed training budgets mean there's little to rely on for learning except books- but learning a complex new programming language like Java from a book is no simple task. Maybe your boss is giving you two weeks to come up to speed for a project, or maybe you're ready to take that next step up in your current job, or be a more viable candidate for a new job. Whatever the reason, the onus is on you to learn. All these factors make it more important than ever to have a way to learn—fast.And that's what Head First Java does — by exploiting the way your brain works, it compresses the time it takes to really learn. Why? Because its unique approach not only shows you what you need to know about Java syntax, it enables and encourages you to think like a Java programmer. Mastering object oriented programming requires a certain way of thinking, not just a certain way of writing code.The latest research in cognitive science, neurobiology, and educational psychology shows that learning at the deeper levels takes a lot more than text on a page. Actively combining words and pictures not only helps in understanding the subject, but in remembering it. According to some studies, an engaging, entertaining, image-rich, conversational approach actually teaches the subject better. Head First Java puts these theories into practice with a vengeance. Chock full of mind stretching exercises, memorable analogies, and stories, humor and attitude that aren't just pasted-on distractions but that are used to drive home key points and make ideas come alive, the Head First approach is as effective as it is unique.It takes a pretty unique person to have developed such an innovative way to Learn Java. Kathy Sierra has been interested in learning theory since her days as a game designer. More recently, she's been a master trainer for Sun Microsystems, teaching Sun's own instructors how to teach the latest Java technologies. She has been actively using the concepts in Head First Java to teach hundreds of trainers, developers and even non programmers. She is the founder of one of the largest Java community websites in the world, javaranch.com, and she is a member of the development team for the Sun Certified programmer exam. Bert Bates is also a long-time Java developer and trainer with extensive experience in learning theory. His background features a long stint in artificial intelligence with clients like the Weather Channel, A&E Network, Rockwell and Timken.Is Head First Java right for you? That depends. Head First Java assumes you're a programmer or at least have experience with scripting languages. It assumes that you're smart, that you're creative and open to new ideas, and that you know you're just not the type of person who wants to learn the traditional way. Take a look at the sample pages, explore the background on brain-based learning, examine the table of contents, and see for yourself how Head First Java takes learning to a whole new level. See why Tim O'Reilly says, "This is the first really new approach to computer books that I've seen in many years. I think it's going to revolutionize how programming and other complex topics are taught."Table of Content:1) Dive In (a quick dip into Java)2) Welcome to Objectville (intro to OO)3) Know your Variables (understanding Java types: primitives, object references, pass-by-value)4) How objects behave (instance variables and methods)5) Extra-strength methods (writing more complex code)6) Using the Java Library (solving problems with the API)7) Better Living in Objectville (inheritance, OO design, abstract classes)8) Serious Polymorphism (interfaces, more OO design, polymorphism)9) Life and Death of an object (constructors and memory management / garbage collection)10) Do the Math (static methods and variables, Math methods, Wrappers, and number formatting)11) Risky Behavior (handling exceptions)12) A very graphic story (GUI intro, inner classes, event handling)13) Work on your swing (more GUI, layout managers and Swing components)14) Saving objects (object serialization and file I/O)15) Make a connection (networking: sockets and server sockets)16) Release your Code (deployment: code organization, packages, executable JARs, and Java Web Start)17) Distributed Code (deployment via RMI and Servlets)

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Editorial Reviews

bn.com
The Barnes & Noble Review
Head First Java is a beginning Java primer like you’ve never seen before (and believe us, we’ve seen plenty). This book makes Java fun. No, that doesn’t do it justice. Imagine learning Java from Robin Williams. (The comedian, we mean. If you can imagine him as a truly great Java programmer.)

Synapses firing, new ideas, new connections, attitude all over the place: That’s Head First Java. (Where else can you watch Java objects expose their inner secrets on Java Tabloid TV? Or learn why Lucy really keeps her variables private?)

Hilarious captioned photos. Text that’s actually funny (and we don’t mean the kind of “alleged” funny you’ve seen in computer books before -- the kind that makes you cringe). Games. Puzzles. Mysteries. “Be the compiler” exercises. Great analogies.

And all these goodies weren’t bolted on at the end to enliven a deadly narrative or fit a format. They’re here to make the ideas come alive. And it works.

If you prefer to be lectured, if you prefer a rigid format where you know exactly what to expect every time you turn the page…look elsewhere. Head First Java has a surprise waiting on pretty much every spread. Kathy Sierra, Bert Bates, and the gang at O’Reilly figure that people learn best when they’re fully engaged. When they’re being tickled. When they’re on the floor laughing. (And the latest research in cognitive science, neurobiology, and educational psychology backs them up.)

In Chapter 1, you’ll build your first app -- not Hello World, but your own personal Phrase-O-Matic. Then, it’s straight outta main() -- or, as the authors put it, “We’re leaving this dusty old procedural town for good.” You’ll learn why objects are better through an imaginary competition between Larry, the procedural programmer and Brad, the OO guy (winner gets the cool Aeron chair).

Next, it’s on to primitive and reference variables. Think of ‘em as cups. Think of 64 and Double 64 primitives as Starbucks Grande cups. Java cares about type and won’t let you put a Giraffe into a Rabbit variable: “What happens when someone tries to ask the so-called Rabbit to hop()? You’ll get to know life -- and death -- on the garbage collectible heap. There’s a full chapter on object behavior and on encapsulation (“do it or risk humiliation and ridicule”).

One big idea at a time, you make it through every Java fundamental. Solving problems with the Java Library APIs. Inheritance. Object-oriented design. Serious polymorphism, and interfaces: “the caffeine in Java.” Constructors. Memory management. Garbage collection. Java math (static methods and variables, math methods, wrappers, and number formatting). Exception handling. GUIs, event handling, layout managers, and Swing components. Object serialization. File I/O. Networking and threads. Even getting your code ready for release (e.g., code organization, packages, executable JARs, and Java Web Start (which launches your application for the first time as a web browser and then runs it on a stand-alone basis).

Throughout Head First Java, you’ll also find answers to the “dumb questions” other books don’t deign to answer. Oh, and plenty of “Ready-bake code.” You’ll never forget this Java book -- or what you learn from it. Bill Camarda

Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks for Dummies, Second Edition.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780596004651
Publisher:
O'Reilly Media, Incorporated
Publication date:
05/01/2003
Series:
Head First Series
Edition description:
Older Edition
Pages:
656
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.54(d)

Meet the Author

Bert Bates is a 20-year software developer, a Java instructor, and a co-developer of Sun's upcoming EJB exam (Sun Certified Business Component Developer). His background features a long stint in artificial intelligence, with clients like the Weather Channel, A&E Network, Rockwell, and Timken.

Kathy Sierra has been a master Java trainer for Sun Microsystems, teaching Sun's instructors how to teach the latest Java technologies. She is the founder of one of the largest java community websites in the world, javaranch.com. She is also a key member of the development team for the Sun Certified programmer exam and has developed dozens of applications to demonstrate Java technology.

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