Head First Java
Your Brain on Java - A Learner's Guide
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Released: May 2003
Pages: 656

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)

Product Details
About the Author
Recommended for You
Customer Reviews

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
oreillyHead First Java
 
4.5

(based on 42 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (31)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (7)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (2)

Reviewed by 42 customers

Sort by

Displaying reviews 1-10

Back to top

Previous | Next »

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Buy this book first!

By Fred Flinstone

from Bedrock

About Me Developer

Verified Reviewer

Pros

  • Easy to understand
  • Helpful examples
  • Well-written

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Novice
    • Student

    Comments about oreilly Head First Java:

    As a beginner I have a medium sized library of Java books, most of which are of no use to me at this stage as they go into too much detail without explaining what something actually IS or DOES. Head first into Java is a very good as it illustrates concepts with easy to read diagrams which would otherwise boggle the mind with pages and pages of waffle. The best example of this would be the whole JVM / Bytecode situation, of which there are thousands of internet articles which go into great detail without explaining what it actually is. However it was made much clearer by this book with a simple diagram which takes up about a third of a page and tells you all you need to know at a beginner's level, onto which you can develop your knowledge. So my advice would be to buy this book FIRST as it really helps beginners to understand fundamental concepts which can be revisited at a later stage should you wish to.

    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Awesome!

    By FrenchWolf

    from Montreal, Quebec

    About Me Hobby

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Accurate
    • Concise
    • Easy to understand
    • Funny
    • Helpful examples
    • Well-written

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Intermediate
      • Novice

      Comments about oreilly Head First Java:

      This book is so fun to read, i love this way of learning. I have some base with C# and this book help me to understand more things about OOP.

      (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      Fantastic Book

      By Boby

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about oreilly Head First Java:

      Like all other head first book, this is also a great read.

      Keep up the good work guys.

      Boby Thomas

      www.bobsindia.com (http://www.bobsindia.com/)

      (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      five star work

      By salichos

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about oreilly Head First Java:

      I just finished the book, it was epic...

      I would totally recommended it to anyone who wants to learn how to play the game of J233-and only-acronyms and techs.

      /m

      (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Head First Java

      By Anonymous

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about oreilly Head First Java:

      Definitely the best technical book I've ever read. This would have to be the first one where you don't feel like you deserve a medal for making it to the end! Great explanations, real world examples, and just all around fun. Now if you just had a C++ version...

       
      5.0

      Head First To this Book!

      By Khurram

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about oreilly Head First Java:

      Most definitely the best Java book that i've read. It has made my life a little simpler. Reading a 100 pages felt like 5 minutes. The book is fun to read and it keeps you interested.

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      Generation Xbox love this book!

      By Anonymous

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about oreilly Head First Java:

      I teach computer science at the High school, Undergrad and graduate level and at every turn, I have added Head First Java to the list of recommended readings.

      It has been a Fun, interesting way to get the very visual learner "generation Xbox" to understand OOP and Java in particular.

      I wish is was a full fledged academic text book!

       
      5.0

      If you've been in the shallow end for awhile - Time to Dive In

      By Hal Rosser

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about oreilly Head First Java:

      I've been playing in 'the shallow end' of the Java language for awhile, and skipped over some things like javadoc and jar files. Most documentation on these subjects are laborious to wade through and make sense of.

      One thing I do to evaluate a book - is look up a specific subject I've had trouble with or had skipped in the past to see how they present the subject.

      Its amazing - its clear now. You have to have this book nearby - just to clear up those ffuzzy parts.

      (7 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Head First Java Review

      By MD Caruso

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about oreilly Head First Java:

      Topics such as multithreading, streams, and networking seemed to be just a bunch of nonsense to me until I picked up this book. I would say that the Head First series is probably one of the best things that happened in the history of computer literature publishing. What I admire about the series most is the unprecedented clarity. The humor was alright. The graphics didn't only look great and funny but they CERTAINLY were VERY EFFECTIVE as far as getting the point across to my brain dead smack clear.

      As far as content and formatting is concerned, I really appreciated the handwritten annotations alongside the written codes. I would say that I have NEVER seen this EXTREMELY VALUABLE method in any other computer book. I also like the use of ample white space - another feature that most books neglect. From an educational standpoint, I see that the crossword puzzles, quizzes, and small assignments are dead smack relevant to the material presented. Despite Academia's opinion that this series may be unprofessional or even absurd, I would surely use this book as the text since I see its unparalleled effectiveness in teaching concepts that are not the easiest to grasp.

      Now, on the downsides. I was hoping that the Head First Java book explained the INFAMOUS GridBagLayout and its SINISTER partner GridBagConstraints. I imagine that the Head First explanation of this extremely complex and confusing layout manager would just do the trick of DEMYSTIFYING this SICKLY AGONIZING part of the Java AWT/Swing. Perhaps there should be a second "Head First Java II" book that would include such topic, along with the difficult JTree and JTable, and other topics not covered in the first Head First Java book.

      All in all, the Head First series is WAY easier than the Idiot's or Dummy versions (at least for Java). It surely slaughters Deitel & Deitel's Java books more intended for high school or college text. It even trumps the allegedly easiest Visual ("Read Less, Learn More.") series in EASE, CLARITY, PRACTICALITY, DETAIL, and IN-DEPTHNESS.

      I would REALLY like to see the following topics CLARIFIED in future Head First publications:

      1. JavaScript/CSS/DHTML

      2. JSP/Tomcat

      3. PHP/MySQL/Apache

      4. C++

      5. Data Structures and Algorithms (Lists, Trees, Sorting, etc.)

      6. Assembly Language (Various processors)

      7. XML

      8. ASP/IIs

      9. Game Programming

      10. Web Design/Usability

      11. TCP/IP and Network Administration

      .

      .

      .

      Every single computer-related topic DESERVES to have a Head First publication for it! To whoever is responsible for the publication of the Head First series, THANK YOU SO MUCH! You've done a WONDERFUL job!

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Head First Java Review

      By Lucy

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about oreilly Head First Java:

      This books is a very useful to learning. The writing style of this book makes it very easy to undestand. It is good especially for beginners as I am. In one word, excellent introduction to Java programming. At last but not least, the funny pics in this book i love too.

      Lucy

      Displaying reviews 1-10

      Back to top

      Previous | Next »

       
      Buy 2 Get 1 Free Free Shipping Guarantee
      Buying Options