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Best source to learn Java (or Perl or PHP or Python)

An impossible question - there is no best way - yet it's one that I'm asked from time to time. [["Hello. I'm doing a b.tech. My friends like ur site very much. Plz help us in Java programming - plz tell me about the best source to learn Java"]]

So do I answer such questions, and if so, how? Firstly - YES - I make a point of answering emails which are written individually; although there may not be an immediate business point in doing so, you never know when you'll come across this person again, or who he / she may recommend you to. "Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself" ... but this is a personal comment, and digressing from the theme of the subject line.

Take two slices of breadWhen you're looking to learn, you are putting the filling in a sandwich - between what you already know, and what you want of need to know, and in order to establish your training requirements, you should think about those two points.

Spread margarine on both and Marmite on oneBeginning Point ... have you any prior experience (from a "learning a programming language" view point, that means asking if you have programmed before, and if so whether you've just dabbled, or if you're an experienced code. And it also means asking whether or not you have experience in a similar language, or if any experience is in something very different. You might even have made some attempts to study the language that you're asking me about and have failed to grasp it, or some specific issues, or you might be looking for more advanced training only.

Add crumbled Stilton CheeseEnding Point Are you learning with a specific job role in mind? For a particular project that you want to undertake as a hobby, as part of an academic program (i.e. to pass an exam) after which you'll make little use of your skill? And if you're heading for a specific job role, which are the important aspects of the subject - are you learning for a code maintenance role, for a specification role, or for something in between?

Add slices of onionLogistics and Economics How long do you have - are you looking for something short and sharp, or a learning program that will last over a considerable period? Are you able to arrange your schedule to be available at certain times, and are you able to travel to specific locations? Are they nearby? And you'll need time, determination and commitment to learn, but there's something of a tradeoff between these three and money (and time is money if you're learning in a work situation. a little money will buy you a book, and rather more money will buy you a course.

Add slices of tomatoLearning Methods. Some of us learn best with our peers, and others learn best alone. Some can read from a screen, and others from a book. Some need to "get away" to concentrate on learning, and others can learn with the office hubbub, the screaming child, or the railway announcer telling us that the next station is Pontypridd.

Place the other slice of bread on topSo with all of these variables, it was impossible for me to say to my correspondent "the best way to learn Java IS ..."; I could only suggest that he listened carefully to the advise of lecturers on his B Tech course (who, after all, should know many of the answers above!) and followed a few of our links to help with backup. I also pointed him towards:

Our own Java training notes which are available for download from:

Resources classified by subject - starting (for Java) at:

And there are many resources on our main web site at

There is a very wide variety of books - and we list about 50 at:

Cut along the leading diagonalDid I recommend our training courses, then?. No, I didn't. Even from the short enquiry, I read that my correspondent is undertaking an academic course already, where a second thread of learning would probably confuse rather than clarify. I also noted that English, in which we teach our courses, wasn't his mother tongue and that one of our courses would be frustrating for him, for the tutor, and for other delegates on the course. Finally, I noted from his email address that he lives half a world away, and it just wouldn't make sense for his to come all this way. Courses are NOT for everyone, and where there's multiple reasons they don't fit, I won't sell them - that would be a dis-service to everyone!

But I suppose I should finish off, dear reader, with some links to our courses; if you're fluent in English, and time is of the essence in your learning of Java or Perl or PHP or Python ... then they may very well be the best source to learn.

Python CoursesPerl CoursesPHP CoursesJava Courses

See here or here for sandwich making instructions

(written 2008-12-28, updated 2008-12-31)

Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
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Q100 - Object Orientation and General technical topics - Learning to Progam
  [4575] Learning not just what a program does, but how to design it in the first place. - (2015-11-06)
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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