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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 1918 reviews in the database and more every month.
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Title:
Java for Students
Author:
D Bell&M Parr
ISBN:
0 13 858440 0
Publisher:
Prentice Hall
Pages:
570pp
Price:
£20-95
Reviewer:
Brian Bramer
Subject:
java; modelling languages
Appeared in:
10-3
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 Studentsis 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
paint()
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 Programby Deitel and Deitel which takes a more traditional (C/C++?) approach andJava An Object First Approachby Culwin which uses Java as the implementation tool to teach OO and software engineering concepts with UML.