‘HeadFirst Java’ – Book Review

“A book review of the popular ‘HeadFirst Java’ authored by Kathy Sierra and Bert   Bates”

The most popular among the Headfirst Series of books, the HEADFIRST JAVA is a truly amazing and wonderfully written book and no wonder extremely popular in the technical world of JAVA programming language. The authors Kathy and Bert need no introduction. Both of them have written several masterpieces in the Headfirst series, co-authored other books in the HeadFirst Series like Headfirst Servlets, EJB, DesignPatterns, have been closely associated with developing many SunMicroSystem’s certification exams , as trainers of java technology and as founder and active participants of  various online java communities like javaranch.com,wickedlysmart.com etc.

The HeadFirst Java: a technical book with a dash of intermingled fiction and poetry stuff, does full justice to its cover statement,” Your Brain On Java: a Learner’s Guide”. If a java geek, randomly browses through the pages for the first time he’ll be totally puzzled and I won’t be surprised if he asks himself –“Is it a programming book? Or a comic?”

Its only when the reader skims through the initial few pages, he’ll realize the writing style of the HeadFirst series books including this one. It was this writing style that allured me first towards this book and ever since I have remained a keen follower of all headfirst books.

Let’s have a short trip to this beautiful work piece on java and I’m sure any reader aspiring to learn the JAVA programming language will fall in love with it, whether or not he is a beginner or  an intermediate wishing to explore and learn the finer nuisances of JAVA.

JAVA is extremely vast and this book has neatly categorized the various sections into separate chapters as well as ordered them according to the learning curve and difficulty level of a novice reader. The first few pages explain ‘for whom is the book meant’,’ the writing style to be followed in the book’,’ the chapters index’,’ the reading methodology’,’ the various resources to learn’ and similar sub-headings.

One reason  I absolutely adore this book is because of its uniqueness. It isn’t like any other programming or technical java book with a bunch of programs and technical jargons thrown in. Instead it’s a book that uses unique techniques like pictorial and diagrammatic representation of concepts, use of common everyday life situations to explains concepts and  strategies like visual learning and meta-cognition (Thinking about Thinking!).The introduction is so tempting that the reader is unable to stop himself from reading further.

It was only after reading it, I began believing, that not all programming books are dull and insipid to read. HEADFIRST JAVA is the only book I find that takes the reader into the fascinating world of Java! The reader as he keeps reading is able to associate with java, the worldly objects, his everyday life and actions with it.

At the same time, the book not for a moment comprises on the quality of content. The concepts explained are serious, deep java concepts but the writing style through which they are explained makes it engrossing!

Hats off to Kathy and Bert! The writers, I think are as good as a poet, a fiction writer or a novelist as programmers or java authors. The concepts explained, the ground covered, the learning curve provided, the set of exercises, tips, resources provided coupled with mnemonics to retain concepts and facts… all captured in about a 600 page book is simply awesome. If a reader wants to experience JAVA from novice to professional, there’s no others substitute to HEADFIRST JAVA. Any reader who delves into the fascinating tour the book takes the reader into will never regret the price he paid for it. My sincere thanks and tribute to the authors for providing this to the java community.

Rohit Kumar Singh