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Feb 29, 2008 7:39pm
User_img_not_found_06_med cameronmcl... 8 posts

I am a student and I would like to know of any Suggestions for books, websites, or tutorials for java so I can program for the Bug.


Mar 1, 2008 2:20pm
Medium Bug Labs team mcaric 64 posts

Hi cameron,

I’m also fairly new to Java and I’m using two different books at the moment. The first is Java Programming for the Absolute Beginner, which is extremely boring, but like the title suggests, written for the absolute beginner:

The other book I’m reading is Head First Java, which is a little more complicated but also a lot more enjoyable to read:

There’s also a number of websites out there that have online tutorials available, one of my favorites is JavaRanch: http://www.javaranch.com/

Hope this helps!

Mar 1, 2008 5:32pm
User_img_not_found_06_med cameronmcl... 8 posts

Can I use dragonfly as the program for these books or do you suggest to use another program.

Mar 1, 2008 7:02pm
Medium Bug Labs team kschultz 107 posts

A few suggestions:

Start out with Eclipse and do some standard Java programs. The Dragonfly SDK is just a plugin for Eclipse, but there is a bit of overhead for managing when the program starts/stops on the BUG that you don't want to deal with at first.

I learned Java originally from the official Java =http://java.sun.com/docs/books/tutorial/tutorial

Have you programmed in other languages before? If not it might be easier to learn a different language first real quick i.e. Python or Ruby and then learn Java after. Java is not hard at all (i.e. you don't have to worry about memory, lots of libraries of stuff to use) but it is a bit verbose which is a distraction at first. For example to print a line in python is

print "Hello World"

whereas in java it is

System.out.println("Hello World");

But on the other hand, Java never really gets more complex than that, it is just a bunch of objects and libraries.

If you need any help, feel free to ask,
Mar 2, 2008 10:33pm
User_img_not_found_05_med wimora 10 posts

I have a few opinions to add.

Cameron, I’m not too far ahead of you. About 7 years ago I took a java class but I’ve rarely done anything serious with it since. From time to time I’d get out the old textbook and monkey around with it for awhile but I’m not an engineer and I don’t work in the IT field. I’ve also messed around with C++, Visual Basic, and PBASIC (which is specifically for a microcontroller). Basically, I’m a casual hobbyist. I can usually get done what I really want but between the lack of knowledge and experience I have and the time I have to devote to it it can take a LONG time.

If you want to learn programming to work with the Bug it makes sense to me to learn java instead of starting with something else. To me the language you use is just a tool. They all have their own advantages and disadvantages and you may as well learn the tool that will help you do want interests you.

I bought the Head First Java book and it is really good for the conceptual part. I’ve just started it but I think I may actually get a handle on some concepts that totally evaded me before. It is much more interesting than most books that I’ve seen and used and more geared to teaching concepts than just giving examples. The downfall of that book to me is that it seems a bit light on different kinds of code examples.

(Personally, I’m looking for some information specific to AWT everything I seem to find is oriented toward Swing and I don’t know how to relate that to working in AWT. – Any advice on that? – Kevin’s tutorials are great examples but I’m still having trouble making things work the way I want.)

The book I used to have was by Deitel and Deitel. They do "How to Program _" books. This is a lot more like what I think of as a textbook but it is not as interesting. Things are explained in detail but not well from a novices point of view. There are plenty of good code examples though (at least in the old edition that I had, I assume they haven’t changed much.)

Melinda mentioned the Java Ranch website. It is a bit cheesy but a great place for beginner to intermediate stuff. I learned a lot there (and still could I think). They have some interesting tasks to suggest you try and some good code examples.

The stuff directly from Sun is pretty difficult to me to make a lot of use of it. If I know exactly what I’m looking for it can sometimes be helpful but you have to know how to look things up and what it means when you get there. It seems more for an advanced user.

Mar 3, 2008 9:24pm
Medium Bug Labs team kschultz 107 posts

I think the best way to learn is to just dive in. All the books and tutorials in the world don’t mean much until you hit an intractable error. I can hardly say I’m an expert but I find the books mean more to me after I’ve tried to do something and gotten stuck than before.

A good example, I have been wanting to learn more about software design and design patterns and I picked up a book at the library and read it over break, but it didn’t mean much until I started writing a big application this semester. Now I have a code base of about 35ish classes and its getting out of control so I need to figure out a better way to lay it out.

The biggest tip I have though is to find a project you want to do. If you try and sit down to "Learn Java" you will have no idea what to do. When I wanted to learn how to do graphics I started by making a bouncing ball, I learned a lot about openGL in the process. If I had just read a book on openGL, none of it would have stuck. The same thing applies to GUIs. I read a lot of tutorials on AWT before starting my tutorials, but not until I started making them did I realize what was important and what wasn’t. It is almost better to know nothing and look up each bit as you go. The first project on the subject matter ends up being poor, but the second time around it is easy, and you will probably get through two iterations this way faster than one if you tried reading a lot beforehand.

Like I said before, add me questions. I have a few programs I’m working on at the moment but I definitely will do more tutorials if I find more topics people want.

Mar 4, 2008 3:43pm
Img_missing_medium akravets 25 posts

Agree with Kevin here, writing code, encountering mistakes and errors is the best way to learn.
However, when you do need some help here are some resources that I use:

    javaranch.com - great forum for Java questions and tutorials.

    #java IRC channel on irc.freenode.net - when you need answers right away.

    SCJP Sun Certified Programmer for Java 5 Study Guide http://tinyurl.com/32km8x - this is my favorite book. It gets right to the point on all topics without all the unnecessary discussions that other books might have.
Mar 4, 2008 6:39pm
User_img_not_found_06_med cameronmcl... 8 posts

Should I get the bug or should I hold off until I get a little more experience with writing in java.



Mar 4, 2008 8:34pm
Medium Bug Labs team kschultz 107 posts