First of all, thanks to the Doyle Street Cohousing Community for putting up with me for the two years that it took me to write this book (and for putting up with me at all). Thanks very much to Kevin and Sonda Donovan for subletting their great place in gorgeous Crested Butte, Colorado for the summer while I worked on the book. Also thanks to the friendly residents of Crested Butte and the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory who made me feel so welcome. The World Gym in Emeryville and its enthusiastic staff helped keep me sane during the final months of the book.
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This book was designed with one thing in mind: the way people learn the Java language. Seminar audience feedback helped me understand which parts were difficult and needed illumination. In the areas where I got ambitious and included too many features all at once, I came to know – through the process of presenting the material – that if you include a lot of new features, you need to explain them all, and this easily compounds the student’s confusion. As a result, I’ve taken a great deal of trouble to introduce the features as few at a time as possible.
No matter how many tricks a writer uses to detect errors, some always creep in and these often leap off the page for a fresh reader. If you discover anything you believe to be an error, please send the original source file (which you can find at http://www.BruceEckel.com ) with a clearly commented error (following the form shown on the Web page) and suggested correction via electronic mail to Bruce@EckelObjects.com so that it might be fixed in the electronic version on the Web site and in the next printing of the book. When you submit a correction, please use the following format:
I’ve discovered that simple exercises are exceptionally useful during a seminar to complete a student’s understanding, so you’ll find a set at the end of each chapter.
Like my previous book Thinking in C++ , this book has come to be structured around the process of teaching the language. In particular, my motivation is to create something that provides me with a way to teach the language in my own seminars. When I think of a chapter in the book, I think in terms of what makes a good lesson during a seminar. My goal is to get bite-sized pieces that can be taught in a reasonable amount of time, followed by exercises that are feasible to accomplish in a classroom situation.
This book assumes that you have some programming familiarity; you understand that a program is a collection of statements, the idea of a subroutine/function/macro, control statements such as “if” and looping constructs such as “while,” etc. However, you might have learned this in many places, such as programming with a macro language or working with a tool like Perl. As long as you’ve programmed to the point where you feel comfortable with the basic ideas of programming, you’ll be able to work through this book. Of course, the book will be easier for the C programmers and more so for the C++ programmers, but don’t count yourself out if you’re not experienced with those languages (but come willing to work hard). I’ll be introducing the concepts of object-oriented programming and Java’s basic control mechanisms, so you’ll be exposed to those, and the first exercises will involve the basic control-flow statements.
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