Some Resources for Learning Java

In my quest to learn more about Java, here are some sites that I’ve found to be of use to me:

  1. The Java 7/6 API documentation – learn to love this site. You’ll refer to it endlessly as you run into problems or need to find methods for a task.
  2. The Java Tutorials – by Oracle. I found this helpful while reviewing for tests. You can also download them to your computer.
  3. – by Professor Fred Swartz. You can view the notes online or download them to your computer.
  4. Training sites like ElementK. ElementK is not a free site but I have access to their huge library of training materials via my school. So make sure you browse your Computer Science Department homepage for hidden gems like free software for students and free training resources. If your school has a “student hub” (my school has one powered by uPortal which is where I learned about the free training), start your search there.


Reading input from the console

In training materials from ElementK, I observed the use of to accept input from the keyboard. In my intro to Java class, I was taught to use the Scanner class in Java. What is the different between these two methods?

I’ll talk about the Scanner class although the Java API docs do a much better job of clarification. If you want to create a simple Java program where the user is prompted to enter words, characters or numbers, you need a class that allows you to do this. The Scanner class does not belong to the java.lang package to you need to import the Scanner class from java.util.Scanner using the import command at the top of your Java class.

import java.util.Scanner;


Comparing Objects in Java

I’m taking advantage of training materials offered through an alliance with my school and ElementK to bone up on Java. I am currently taking the Java Fundamentals course which is a nice follow-up to the Intro to Computer & Programming course I just completed. With a little Java under my belt, I know that comparing two Object variables using the == operator can lead to unwanted results. In Java, object variables only hold the address in memory where the object is stored. Backing up a bit, here’s the code for creating an object in Java:

Classname objVar = new Classname();

The new operator allocates memory for the object to be created, calls the Class constructor and returns a reference to that memory which is then assigned to objVar. 

So, if you do a direct comparison of two object variables like this obj1 == obj2, you are really comparing the memory locations of the objects you want! Unless your specific intent is to check and see if an object is an alias of another, you should avoid direct comparisons if you’re really trying to compare the state of two objects. 

Imagine my surprise to find this snippet of code in ElementK’s training files for testing equality: 



In this case, my recommended change would be:


where the getName() method returns a String object which we can them compare using the built-in equals or equalsIgnoreCase methods to compare the values returned by getName().


Code Academy!

I finally got around to finishing some lessons in Having a little bit of programming experience (very little Python, a little Java experience) helped me complete the exercises faster. After completing the exercises, I’m hungry for more. I took advantage of some O’Reilly specials to purchase some eBooks about JavaScript specifically:

  1. JavaScript: The Good Parts
  2. JavaScript & jQuery: The Missing Manual 2nd Edition

I haven’t actually read them yet but with my upcoming free time, I’ll make some headway. So much to do! 🙂 Without making this post longer than it needs to be, here are the achievements I unlocked!


but there’s not “follow-up”