REVIEW - Java for students


Java for students


Doug Bell, Mike Parr


Prentice Hall (1997)




Brian Bramer


June 1998



This is an easy to read introduction to OO basics and Java suitable for a first programming module...

Highly recommended for students learning Java 1.0!

Amongst the dozens (hundreds) of Java books there are still very few aimed at students starting to program. Although proponents of Java claim it is a small language it's APIs are huge and complex and authors have problems deciding the approach to take, how many APIs to cover and to what depth, etc.

Java for Students is aimed at first year undergraduate students new to programming and takes a lightweight applet based approach (to make it interesting and fun for the students). The first two chapters present background information and introduce applets and the
method. Basic graphics primitives are then described drawing lines, circles, arcs, strings, using colours, etc. - following chapters then use these facilities in example programs. There are then chapters dedicated to fundamental topics such as numerical programming, methods, events, conditional statements, loops, repletion, inheritance, arrays, exceptions, threads, GUIs, I/O, etc. followed by chapters on OO design, 'program style', testing and debugging.

This is an easy to read introduction to OO basics and Java suitable for a first programming module. Further Java modules would need more advanced texts (e.g. networking is hardly mentioned). My wife, who teaches first year undergraduate students Java (and C++) described it as

'An excellent introduction, plain and simple and unpompous' . The main problem is that it covers Java 1.0 and the authors indicated (in an email) that it is unlikely that a 1.1 version will be out in time for next academic year. Highly recommended for students learning Java 1.0!

Also look at other first year student texts which I have reviewed recently - Java how to Program by Deitel and Deitel which takes a more traditional (C/C++?) approach and Java An Object First Approach by Culwin which uses Java as the implementation tool to teach OO and software engineering concepts with UML.

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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