I've Decided To (try to) Learn Java

Head First Java

As the new year approaches, I'm adding "Learn Java" to my personal list of things to do in 2009. I've been wanting to pick up some Java skills for awhile now and never really set it as a priority. Don't worry, I have no plans to abandon ColdFusion. Quite the contrary really.

In my school days, I was required to learn a foreign language. Victims of "location" and "school budgets," each grade school within my childhood hometown of Akron, Ohio offered one foreign language option and mine happened to be Spanish. (Friends at other schools were able to learn French, or even German.) Eventually, in high school, Latin was also offered as a foreign language option. To my excitement, I took both Latin and Spanish. In the end, I truly believe Latin helped me in not only my Spanish, but also my English! (Which some of my readers might take argument with, to be sure.) Anyway, as it turned out, Latin was/is the basis of approximately 60% of the English language. In addition, Spanish, French, and many other languages are also based on Latin in some form or another, so it's no wonder that picking up Latin skills could in turn help one in other languages as well.

As most users of ColdFusion know, Java (or J2EE) is the underlying engine that drives ColdFusion. So in much the same way that I felt Latin helped me in my English and Spanish, I'm hoping Java will also help me in not only my ColdFusion programming, but in other areas as well (object oriented code, etc.).

I understand that learning a language is an ongoing process and never really "ends." Heck, I'm still learning ColdFusion even though I've been using it since CF5. I also understand that I'll probably never really achieve "greatness" in Java considering the fact that I personally know of people that have spent their full four years in college learning this extremely complex language.

After asking and searching around for a resource to help me in my quest for Java knowledge, I've decided on the book "Head First Java, 2nd Edition" by Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates published by O'Reilly. My book arrived just in time for Christmas and after reading the introduction and flipping around, I can say that I'm truly excited to dive right in. I'm just hoping I'll be able to swim the Java waters.

Steve, that's awesome. The "Head First" books are good. I hope this one is up the other ones that I have read.

This year, I want to start looking into FLEX and / or iPhone development. Like you, its not that I want to abandon ColdFusion - I just want to keep growing my knowledge.
# Posted By Ben Nadel | 12/27/08 2:16 PM
VB and JAVA were the first languages I was forced into at University. I found some of the concepts of JAVA and OO very difficult to grasp (encapsulation, inheritance, and polymorphism) I stuck with it over 3 years until I finished my BSc, I went into my first job where everyone was doing ColdFusion 6, I did not know what CF was at that point. I found it very easy to pick up, then when everyone was finding it hard to pick up using components in MX7 I found it very easy and ended up helping them, it was only easy because of my understanding of JAVA and OO that helped. ok its very different but I explained it like classes, it really helped me more than I knew. I also I find myself looking at CF a little different and wondering what is actually going on under the hood so to speak. I have not touched JAVA in 4 years now however the OO and my understanding of it has stayed with me and helps me to write better reusable code in CF everyday.

it will make you, if anything, a better CF coder :)
# Posted By Glyn Jackson | 12/27/08 2:57 PM
I've never tried the "Head First" series of books before and am quickly becoming hooked on the style. Thanks for the encouragement, and I agree, growing our knowledge can rarely be a bad thing ... except the more I learn, the more I want to know.

I'm with you on wanting to learn more Flex ... it's 3rd on my list (diving into ActionScript is 2nd, which should obviously help me in Flex as well).
# Posted By Stephen Withington | 12/27/08 2:58 PM
Exactly, that's my end goal really. I don't have any plans on becoming a master Java-coder, but truly hope it helps me (as you said) become a better CF coder.
# Posted By Stephen Withington | 12/27/08 3:02 PM
Hey all,

I first learn Java @ uni as well. I have not used it much lately so I thought I would brush up on it.

I looked around for a book and settled on the Head First Java book as well. I have found it's style helpful.

Ps Love you site Steve.

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