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Oleksandr Miadelets
Head of Developers Team at CodeGym

Java For Dummies by Barry Burd - Is This Book Worth Your Attention?

Published in the Java Developer group
"For Dummies" is a top-rated book series. So when one tries to find a beginner's book to learn well, more or less any topic, he/she takes a closer look at one of these books pretty often. Java For Dummies by Barry Burd could be worth reading for some categories of students. Java For Dummies by Barry Burd - Is This Book Worth Your Attention? - 1

About what is this book?

No surprises, this book is about the Java language for dummies. Java Core for beginners, to be exact. The author himself advises starting reading from that part of the book you need right now. You can find useful recommendations in the section "What you don't have to read." And for those who can't wait to start coding, I would recommend following this advice of Barry.

Part 1. Getting started with Java

Part one consists of three chapters. The first chapter is for students who know nothing about modern approaches to programming. The second chapter contains useful information about how Java works (Java Virtual Machine), the processes of software development, and so on. You also find out about packages and software you should install on your PC before you start programming. However, it seems that instead of this chapter, you can use one of the short tutorials from the Internet. The third chapter shows you the first Java program, or rather, parsing of its components. The information is beneficial, so if it seems to be tough now, the right idea is to return to it later. The problem with this chapter is that many of the points discussed go a lot better via practice. What can I say about the first part in general? I would recommend reading it in detail as the beginning of the study to those people only who know nothing about programming and are in no hurry to write their first programs, such as adult students-switchers or those who prefer a consistent academic approach. It doesn't mean that the book is written strictly and academically, not at all, it is very entertaining. However, if you want to try coding asap, you'd better start coding from the very first Day of your Java learning. To be honest with you, it seems the fastest and the most proper way to professional programming! So, to create your first program, you may use some online tutorials and read "Java for Dummies" while commuting or before sleeping.

Part 2. Writing your own Java program

In this part, you'll find out about the main elements of a program, and finally, you'll be proposed to write your program. As Barry (the author) correctly noted, this chapter is written, taking into account the specifics of Java, but mostly teaches the very basics of programming as is. There are also three chapters in this part. "Variables and their values," "Control structures," and "Cycles." They are very detailed and consider moments in which even those who already program are often confused. For example, what is the difference between a variable and its name, instruction, and operator? It is recommended for all beginners (but don't forget about practical tasks!).

Part 3. OOP

This part is essential for the actual Java dummies who want to be real Java software developers in the future. It dedicated to classes and objects, Object-Oriented Programming principles (OOP). You'll find out why the OOP approach is excellent for developing large programs (spoiler: first of all, to avoid code repeatability, haha). The part contains some chapters about working with files and constructors of classes. If you don't understand most of the words I wrote in the sentence above, you definitely should learn this part. The explanations and examples here are great; I guess you can understand OOP on the basics level after you read this and write some code examples. However, there is a lack of more detailed disclosure of some OOPs principles, such as polymorphism and encapsulation. There are only hints on them.

Part 4. Smart Java Techniques

A beneficial part. It is better to read it and do many coding exercises to understand all the new techniques better. A chapter dedicated to variables and their proper usage, as well as a chapter about exceptions, is full of good explanations. The chapter on arrays is precise and exciting. Collections, generics, and streams. As for me, these topics weren't well-reviewed. Sure this book is about Java development for dummies. Anyway, it would not be superfluous to talk about collections in more detail. From this part, you'll find out a little bit about more or less modern Java features such as Lambdas and Functional Programming as well as old and outdated technology Swing. Sure the author demonstrates a graphical user interface on this one, but It is ancient. All the third part, I must say, is very contrasted. Some topics are described well, some - not in the best way; some topics are useful, the others are outdated.

Part 5. The Part of Tens

This part is quite short. It contains some tips on how to avoid typical mistakes and useful websites. It seems to be more like an article on the Internet, a good one. Java For Dummies by Barry Burd - Is This Book Worth Your Attention? - 2


The general conclusions about the book resemble chapter 4 conclusions. Java for Dummies by Barry Burd is an excellent book for beginners who are ready to use several resources for their learning. It cannot be called a programming textbook or tutorial; it is instead your first Java handbook. It is better to read in parallel with step-by-step tutorials and (necessarily!) solving coding tasks. Several issues are considered in great detail here. You may feel the author's background as a teacher, so he spells those issues out that caused the most significant difficulties for his beginner students. But here are some topics revealed quite superficially, at the level of informative articles. However, Java for Dummies is a book for beginners. Therefore it could be your first iteration of acquaintance with the language.Moreover, Java For Dummies is easy to read, full of lively and funny examples and digressions. It can easily be read anywhere on the road or before bedtime. If you, of course, are satisfied with the author's style. And remember: no book in this world can turn you into a software developer. Only practice can.
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Level 11 , Tirana, Albania
1 February 2019, 12:22
Thank you for this amazing opportunity. It is exactly the right way to learn a programming language.