REVIEW - Computing concepts with Java 2 essentials


Computing concepts with Java 2 essentials


Cay S. Horstmann




John Wiley & Sons (2000)




Graham Kendall


June 2000



Being relatively new to Java I started reading this book from the first page. It was not too long before I was a little bemused. I was being told what a computer is and what programming is. Next I was confronted by pictures of hard discs, RAM chips, motherboards, CD-ROM drives and Intel processors, together with details of how high level instructions are converted to binary so that they can be understood by the processor (or, in this case, the Java Virtual Machine).

Okay, I can accept all this, or, more importantly, somebody totally new to computing might appreciate these insights, but then the book totally loses it for me. After assuming that the reader is starting from the very basics it then says 'For now, you should make a new program file and call it
.. compile and run the program.' Now, I know the difficulties in trying to cover the many different development environments, but how does the author expect the reader to take the leap from knowing nothing, to being able to compile a java program?

It may just be me, but I thought the book kept flipping between treating the reader as a complete novice and then treating the reader as if they have some degree of knowledge.

Don't get me wrong. The information in the book is not particularly bad but, as an experienced user I found, in places, it talked down to me. I suspect inexperienced users would find parts of it difficult.

I think there are better books than this one available.

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.