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Java Programming: From the Beginning

Cover of Java Programming: From the Beginning

K. N. King
Georgia State University

ISBN 0-393-97437-5
788 pages

Java Programming: From the Beginning is an introductory college textbook aimed at the traditional CS1 course. (Click here to read my 1997 paper about why Java is the best choice for CS1.) It assumes no previous programming experience. Unlike many Java texts currently on the market, Java Programming: From the Beginning avoids trendiness for its own sake, instead focusing on teaching students programming skills on which they can build a career. The emphasis is on learning how to design, implement, and debug programs written in an object-oriented language. Topics are introduced in a spiral fashion, with as little "magic" as possible. Applets are de-emphasized, and there is no attempt to introduce all the features of Java. After using this book in a course, students should be well-prepared to move on to C++ or more advanced courses in Java.

High School Teachers: Java Programming: From the Beginning is a great choice to prepare your students for the Advanced Placement Computer Science test, which will switch to Java for the 2003-2004 academic year. Click here for more information about using Java Programming: From the Beginning in your classroom. Click here to read the review of Java Programming: From the Beginning at AP Central.

New! The jpb package (used by many of the programs in Java Programming: From the Beginning) is now available via the JJ system. JJ is an online interactive Java educational environment that you can use with any browser. To give JJ a try, just visit

Reviews on the Web

(Richard Dragan)
"... puts basic Java development and object-oriented design into the hands of any computer-literate reader. ... one of the more accessible and well-presented introductions to Java available today. ... the book's effective presentation style is arguably its major strength. ... The colloquial and friendly writing style presents the essentials of Java without ever getting bogged down in theory. ... an excellent home-study choice for the reader who appreciates a patient and thorough teaching style." (Click here to read the full review.)
(John Zukowski)
"... makes a good effort to keep the new programmer's attention. If you are looking for a self-study guide to help you learn how to program, and want to learn Java as your first language, Java Programming: From the Beginning is a nice jump-start into Java. University students will also be served well with this as the text book for their first computer science class." (Click here to read the full review.)
(Jane Griscti)
"... there are so many things I liked about this book: the content is well organized, with each chapter building on its predecessors; new concepts are introduced clearly and concisely; good programming practices are emphasized throughout; alternative idioms are explained as well as why one is preferred over another; case studies illustrate the application of concepts; common errors are identified. ... In summary, if you are new to both programming and Java, this book will start you off well provisioned on your journey ..." (Click here to read the full review.)
AP Central
(Steve Kass)
"This is an excellent text that wisely does not try to do everything. What it does do, and well, is lay the foundation for good programming through excellent, engaging examples and some of the clearest writing you'll find anywhere. ... [The book has a] strong sense of organization and direction and [provides a] thorough treatment of its essential topics. ... A student who completes this book will be in an excellent position to continue studying Java, learn to write applets or use Swing, and learn another object-oriented programming language." (Click here to read the full review.)

Published Reviews


Computing Reviews
(November 2000)
"While this Java textbook is intended to support a college course, it is comprehensive enough to be used by all Java programmers. ... covers all aspects of Java programming in depth... all of the topics are clearly presented, with many good sample programs and applications. ... I recommend this large, useful book as the textbook if you want to learn Java. It is also a good reference."
Software Engineering Notes

(January 2001)
"... an excellent introduction to Object Oriented concepts and planning. ... if you program for a living then this book is a must have. ... For a first edition it is almost flawless. ... The book is easy to read, concepts are clearly presented and there are enough glimpses behind the scenes ... along with tips and other insights to keep you interested from beginning to end. ... the book flows well, new ideas are introduced at a logical point where they make sense... An excellent book and one that I will keep in easy reach on my shelf."
(March 2001)
"... a very good, detailed tutorial... full of explanations and examples... a good resource for beginners. ... introduces object-oriented programming concepts early and presents design tips that provide good advice about how to design Java classes..."

Here's what Professor Manuel E. Bermudez (University of Florida) had to say:

"In most reviews I do, by the time I'm through the second chapter, I'm exasperated and annoyed at the 'core dump' nature of the writing. Not so with King.... What I liked most about the book is the fact that it flows. Sections each lead naturally into the next, which is a strength of King's writing style.... Overall, King's spiral approach is very effective, and I think it provides as good a solution as any I know to the vexing problem of how much object orientation to introduce, before filling in the fact that within each method in the OO approach, we are practicing the imperative paradigm of programming. That one issue probably marks the most important contribution of this book."

Still not sure if Java Programming: From the Beginning is the right book for you? Read these comments by instructors and readers.


  • Early coverage of objects
  • "Spiral approach"—introducing new material gradually, as needed
  • Nearly 400 review questions and 200 exercises
  • Over 130 programming projects
  • In-depth case studies, to help students develop problem-solving skills
  • Ample reference material, including detailed coverage of the major API classes

Information about the Book

Classroom Use


Java Programming: From the Beginning can be used with the Java Development Kit or with any integrated development environment, such as Borland's JBuilder Foundation.

Questions? Please email me.

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