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Murach's Java Programming (4th Edition)

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The Bottom Line

Murach's Java Programming is aimed at readers who are new to programming as well as those coming to Java already with the knowledge of another programming language. Its main strength is getting the reader involved with writing code as quickly as possible. The book favors the NetBeans IDE, encouraging the reader to get involved in the many code examples on display. Murach's programming books are known for their paired-page format that pits a topic on the left page with a code example on the right page. This enables a beginner to get involved with Java syntax behind a particular topic. However, at times it feels this quick approach might come at the price of not always knowing why or when they would want to use a particular piece of Java syntax. Overall, this book will get people programming quickly and building Java applications. A good hands-on book.


  • Gets the reader active with coding Java quickly.
  • Plenty of code examples.
  • End of chapter exercises to get the reader to modify example Java code.


  • Doesn't spend a lot of time on overall concepts. Readers might not get a real feel for why or when to use different aspects of the Java language. 
  • The GUI Programming section relies heavily on the NetBeans GUI Builder to create user interfaces (not in itself a bad thing but it presents a limited insight into how to program graphical components).


  • Authors: Joel Murach
  • Publisher: Mike Murach & Associates
  • Published Date: November 4, 2011
  • Format: 836 Pages (Paperback)
  • Price: US$57.50
  • ISBN: 978-1-890774-65-3

Murach's Java Programming (4th Edition) Review

The 4th Edition of Murach's Java Programming has been updated to include the changes found in the latest version of Java - Java SE 7. The reader can expect to be firing up NetBeans fairly early on and hopefully be persuaded to get their hands dirty writing some Java code. The nature of the Murach style of programming book is to present a concept and pair it with example Java code. While this leads to an understanding of how the syntax works I wonder if some readers might not really get the why or even when to use what they learn. A simple example is the continue statement. I have no doubt that the reader will be able to use the statement in practice but the example code given could lead to beginner programmers using this statement when it really isn't necessary. However, the book does well to cover as much material as possible and tries hard to give the reader a rounded look at the world of Java programming.

The book is split into six main sections:

  • Essential Java Skills - this covers using the NetBeans IDE, variables, data types, control statements, briefly looks at exceptions, validating data input by the user, programming errors and how to debug an application
  • Object-oriented programming with Java - looks at coding classes, creating objects, static fields and methods, object inheritance, interfaces, packages, enumerations  and documenting with Javadoc.
  • More Java Skills - arrays, collections, generics, working with dates and strings, handling exceptions
  • GUI programming with Swing - Uses the NetBeans GUI Builder to show how to design a form, using and validating graphical controls, validate controls, handling control events. It also looks at developing and deploying applets
  • Data access programming with Java - Handling data in text and binary files, working with XML. An overview of using SQL with the Apache Derby relational database management system and using JDBC to interact with data in a database. 
  • Advanced Java Skills - Overview of using multiple threads and how to deploy an applications.

If you're looking for a book that gets you set-up and programming in Java quickly then this is the kind of book you want. It provides a good foundation into how to create and build Java applications.

More reviews can be found in the book review section.

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