Java For Students (5th Edition)

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9780131735798: Java For Students (5th Edition)

This latest edition of Java for Students has been fully updated to include the new features of Java 5.0. The authors' GUI-based approach helps students to build their programming skills by producing exciting and dynamic graphical output. Hallmark features include: O A focus on applications and GUI development with Swing. O Graphics are used throughout to illustrate programming principles. O UML 2.0 is used for modelling and design. O A wealth of exercises and self-test questions with solutions. O A CD-ROM containing the JDK 1.5 and source code for all programs. Check out the companion website for the book at to find additional resources for both students and instructors. About the Authors Douglas Bell and Mike Parr have based the book on courses they teach at Sheffield Hallam University. They have also authored student texts on C# and VB .NET, and Douglas Bell is also the author of Software Engineering for Students, now in its fourth edition.

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About the Author:

Douglas Bell and Mike Parr have based the book on courses they teach at Sheffield Hallam University.  They have also authored student texts on C# and VB .NET, and Douglas Bell is also the author of Software Engineering for Students, now in its fourth edition.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

What this book will tell you

This book explains:

  • how to write Java programs;
  • how to run Java programs as free-standing programs;
  • how to invoke a Java program from a World-Wide Web browser.

This book is for novices

If you have never done any programming before—if you are a complete novice—this book is for you. This book assumes no prior knowledge of programming. It starts from scratch. It is written in a simple, direct style for maximum clarity. It is aimed primarily at first year undergraduates at universities and colleges, but it is also suitable for novices studying alone.

Why Java?

Java is probably one of the best programming languages to learn and use at the start of the 21st century, because of the following features.

Java is small and beautiful
The designers of Java have deliberately left out all the superfluous features of programming languages; they have cut the design to the bone. The result is a language that has all the necessary features, combined in an elegant and logical way. The design is lean and mean. It is easy to learn, but powerful.

Java is object-oriented
Object-oriented languages are the latest and most successful approach to programming. Object-oriented programming has been the most popular approach to programming in the late 1990s and now into the new millennium. Java is completely object-oriented from the ground up. It is not a language that has had object-orientedness grafted onto it as an afterthought.

Java supports the Internet
The main motivation for Java was to enable people to develop programs that use the Internet and the World-Wide Web. Java programs can easily be invoked from Web browsers like Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer to provide valuable and spectacular facilities. Also Java programs can be easily transmitted around the Internet and run on any computer.

Java is general-purpose
Although designed for writing World-Wide Web applications, Java is a truly general-purpose language. Anything that C++, Ada etc. can do, so can Java.

Java is platform-independent
Java programs will run on almost all computers—unchanged! Try that with any other programming language. (You almost certainly can't!) This is summed up in the slogan 'write once—run anywhere'.

Java is robust
If a Java program goes wrong (and programs do have that tendency), it won't create mayhem, damage and uncertainty. Because Java programs run inside a protective 'cage', the effects of any errors are confined and controlled. Java programs are even protected against infiltration by viruses.

Java has libraries
Because Java is a small language, most of its functionality is provided by pieces of program held in libraries. A whole host of library software is available to do graphics, Internet access and support graphical user interfaces (GUIs)—as well as the things ordinary programming languages do.

You will need . . .
To learn to program you need a computer and some software. There are several such systems around. A typical system is a PC (personal computer) with a Java Development Environment. This is software that allows you to prepare and run Java programs in a convenient way.

A little history
Java was originally called Oak, after the tree that grows outside the office of` its principal designer, James Gosling. He found out, however, that there is already a programming language called Oak. So the team had to think again. They bought their coffee at a local shop and one of the types of coffee was Java. So that was the name they chose.

Java was designed by a team at Sun Microsystems, California. It arose from the need to construct software for consumer electronics—VCRs, TVs, telephones, pagers and perhaps (one day) toasters. The obvious-choice languages of the time, C and C++, had drawbacks—it was not easy to transport software onto a new processor chip. Thus Java was born with the objectives of creating very small, fast, reliable and transportable programs.

Exercises are good for you

If you were to read this book time and again until you could recite it backwards, you still wouldn't be able to write programs. The practical work of writing programs and program fragments is vital to becoming fluent and confident at programming.

There are exercises for the reader at the end of each chapter. Please do some of them to enhance your ability to program.

There are also short self-test questions with answers throughout the text, so that you can check you have understood things properly.

What's included?

This book explains the fundamentals of programming:

  • variables;
  • assignment;
  • input and output;
  • calculation;
  • graphics and windows programming;
  • repetition using while;
  • choice using if.

It also covers integer numbers, floating-point numbers and character strings. Arrays are also described. All these are all topics that are fundamental, whatever kind of programming you go on to do.

This book also thoroughly addresses the object-oriented aspects of programming:

  • classes;
  • objects;
  • methods;
  • using library classes.

We also look at some of the more sophisticated aspects of object-oriented programming, like:

  • inheritance;
  • polymorphism.

Last, but not least, this book explains how to write Java applets for World-Wide Web documents.

What's not included

This book describes the essentials of Java. It does not explain the bits and pieces, the bells and whistles. Thus the reader is freed from unnecessary detail and can concentrate on mastering Java and programming in general.

Applications or applets?

Because we see the Internet as being tremendously important, we focus on applets here. In addition, applets are simple to construct for the beginner. However, we also explain how Java can create free-standing applications.

Graphics or text?

Throughout the text we have emphasized programs that use graphical images rather than text input and output. We think they are more fun, more interesting and clearly demonstrate all the important principles of programming. We haven't ignored programs that input and output text - they are included, but they come second best.

Graphical user interfaces (GUIs)

The programs we present use many of the features of a graphical user-interface (GUI), such as windows, buttons, scrollbars and using the mouse in lots of different ways.

The sequence of material

Programming involves a lot of sophisticated ideas, and one of the problems of writing a book about programming is deciding how and when to introduce new ideas. We introduce simple ideas early and more sophisticated ideas later on. So, for example, ideas on objects appear about one third of the way into the book. Our approach is to start with ideas like variables and assignment, then introduce if statements and looping, and then go on to objects and classes (the object-oriented features). We also wanted to make sure that the fun element of programming was paramount, so we use graphics right from the start.

Bit by bit

In this book we introduce new ideas carefully one-at-a-time, rather than all at once. So there is a single chapter on writing methods, for example.


Computers are used in many different applications and this book uses examples from all these areas:

  • information processing;
  • games;
  • scientific calculations.

We have also included a few exercises which look at the new and exciting idea of artificial life.

The reader can choose to concentrate on those application areas of interest and ignore any of the other areas.

Different kinds of programming

There are many different kinds of programming—examples are procedural, logic, functional, spreadsheet, visual and object-oriented programming. This book is about one type of programming—object-oriented programming—as practised in languages like Ada, C++, Eiffel and Smalltalk.

Standard Java

Java is a standardized language with no variations and no dialects. This book sticks to the standard language. This book is about Java in general - not any specific product that supports or complements Java. All the programs in the book work under any manufacturer's implementation of Java.

Which version of Java?

Java is evolving, but fairly slowly. The current mainstream version of Java is called Java 2 and this is the version that is covered in this book.

AWT or Swing?

There are two ways of creating a GUI (graphical user interface) in Java. The original way is to use the AWT (Abstract Window Toolkit) and this is the approach used in most of this book. The newer way of creating a GUI is to use Swing; this is becoming popular and we have included a chapter on how to use it.

Have fun

Programming is creative and interesting, particularly in Java. Please have fun!

Visit our Web Site

All the programs presented in this book are available on our Web Site accessible via

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