Review: Java Programming from the Ground Up

Java Programming: From The Ground Up - Ralph Bravaco, Shai Simonson

Originally read March 30, 2014


I read this textbook for a college course with a focus on object-oriented programming. We didn’t have to read every chapter, but we read the vast majority of it.


The textbook was easy to understand, with a large number of examples used to illustrate concepts. The examples were clearly written, with a discussion after most examples that explained what was done in more detail. I already had programming experience, but not with Java and not with object-oriented programming.  That experience may have helped me pick up the material easier, but I do think this book would be equally accessible to a beginning programmer. The first few chapters in the book are extremely basic.


As a working adult, I would have liked more real-world examples in the textbook. Most of the programming examples involved games or puzzles. I guess the goal was to engage a traditional college student without much real-world working experience who might get bored with, say, business application examples. But I’m not a traditional college student and, while the examples were often amusing, I personally would have been more interested by practical examples with a career-oriented focus. I actually think a career-oriented focus would be more beneficial for traditional college students also because they might not have enough experience to extrapolate for themselves how the examples provided could be applied toward their future career.


I did enjoy the humor throughout the book. It was usually pretty corny, but any humor is welcome when you’re plowing through the otherwise dry material in a college textbook. I also liked that the textbook wasn’t too repetitive as is a problem with some textbooks. Even when examples were provided that built off previous examples, the changes and additions were in boldfaced type so that you could clearly see what was changed in the program without being forced to reread the entire thing.