Author: Cay Horstmann, Gary Cornell
Publisher: Prentice Hall, 2008
Aimed at: Intermediate Java programmers
Pros: Well written, high-level introduction.
Cons: Examples are long and very specific
Reviewed by: Ian Elliot
This is the eighth edition of a book that is apparently a well known and well thought of book – but I have to admit that it was new to me. It covers the basics of Java and has been fully updated for the Java SE 6 platform and a second, Advanced, volume by the same authors goes further.
Initially I was impressed. The discussion of Java and its place in the programming universe was interesting, informative and refreshing. However, things went a little downhill after this section. The explanations are reasonably good but the examples are over-long and don't make it easy for the beginner to understand.
There are notes for the C++ programmer to understand the details of Java and lots of asides. However, despite the book's best intentions and seven previous editions it still isn't particularly good as an introduction to the fundamentals of Java. If you already know Java then you might think differently - which is, I suspect, the reason it is so well thought of. If you are a beginner then my guess is that the pace is too fast, the asides are unhelpful, the examples are too long and too complex and you are generally going to find it hard going.