Book Review: Oracle Certified Associate, Java SE 7 Programmer Study Guide

Everyone likes freebies don’t they, so when I was offered the chance to review another book published by Packt how could I refuse?

Oracle Certified Associate, Java SE 7 Programmer Study Guide

First we’ll start with the elephant in the room, the title of this book is a poor choice. It simply doesn’t seem to be a good study guide at all. It doesn’t even cover any details of the exam itself i.e. the number of questions, duration, planning your time etc. There are a few questions at the end of each chapter, but that’s about it. Admittedly in the preface it claims to take a different approach to preparing you, rather than a plying you with endless questions.

That being said, if you take away the title you actually have a decent book. It goes beyond what you would expect from a study guide with regards to suggesting best practices. Rather than just explaining how Java works it tries to share how you should use it.

The book itself is very accessible; text is accompanied with plenty of diagrams, tables and code. The author uses simple diagrams well to illustrate his points; without resorting to full blown UML.

From time to time the author makes the odd bold statement of opinion rather than fact, which can get peevish to someone more experienced. “Always use an else clause” – personally I don’t like to do this, but I know other developers who find it makes code more expressive. It is really down to taste.

The ordering of explanations could sometimes be better, explaining that “an interface is like an abstract class” before explaining the concept of an abstract class will confuse. Similarly talking about “instance variables” and not explaining the concept until later on may confuse some.

Those are just minor gripes though, as a piece of a educational literature it is generally well written; with that respect it is not surprising to see that the author is a lecturer.

It is a shame a little more focus wasn’t put on the examination aspects otherwise this would be a strong title, unfortunately I can only see it augmenting other sources.

Book Review: Oracle Certified Associate, Java SE 7 Programmer Study Guide