The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you.—B.B. King (5 October 1997)
Learning a computer programming language is like a toddler's first steps. You stumble, and fall, but when you start walking, programming becomes second nature. And once you start programming, you never cease evolving or picking up new tricks. Learn one programming language, and you will "know" them all — the logic of the world will begin to unravel around you.
Are you new to programming?
If you have chosen Java as your first programming language, be assured that Java is also the first choice for computer science programs in many universities. Its simple and intuitive syntax, or grammar, helps beginners feel at ease with complex programming constructs quickly.
However, Java is not a basic programming language. In fact, NASA used Java as the driving force (quite literally) behind its Mars Rover missions. Robots, air traffic control systems and the self-checkout barcode scanners in your favorite supermarkets can all be programmed in Java.
Programming with Java™
By now, you might truly be able to grasp the power of the Java programming language. With Java, there are many possibilities. Yet not every programmer gets to program applications that take unmanned vehicles onto other planets. Software that we encounter in our daily life is somewhat humble in that respect. Software in Java, however, covers a vast area of the computing ecosphere. Here are just a few examples of the ubiquitous nature of Java applications in real-life:
- OpenOffice.org, a desktop office management suite that rivals the Microsoft Office suite has been written in Java.
- The popular building game Minecraft is written in Java.
- Online browser-based games like Runescape, a 3D massively multi-player online role playing game (MMORPG), run on graphics routines, 3D rendering and networking capabilities powered by the Java programming language.
- Two of the world's renowned digital video recorders, TiVo and BSkyB's Sky+ use built-in live television recording software to record, rewind and play your favorite television shows. These applications make extensive use of the Java programming language.
The above mentioned applications illustrate the reach and ubiquity of Java applications. Here's another fact: almost 80% of mobile phone vendors adopt Java as their primary platform for the development of applications. The most widely used mobile-based operating system, Android, uses Java as one of its key application platforms — developers are encouraged to develop applications for Android in the Java programming language.
What can Java not do?
Well, to be honest, there is nothing that Java can't do, at least for application programming. Java is a "complete" language; the only limits are programmer imagination and ability. This book aims to get you acquainted with the basics of the language so you can create the software masterpiece of your dreams. The one area where Java can't be used is for direct interaction with computer hardware. If you want to write an operating system, you will need to look elsewhere!