Here are the guiding principles that make the book the way it is:
- One concept at a time. We break down topics that give beginners trouble into a series of small steps, so that they can exercise each new concept in isolation before continuing.
- Balance of Java and concepts. The book is not primarily about Java; it uses code examples to demonstrate computer science. Most chapters start with language features and end with concepts.
- Conciseness. An important goal of the book is to be small enough so that students can read and understand the entire text in a one-semester college or AP course.
- Emphasis on vocabulary. We try to introduce the minimum number of terms and define them carefully when they are first used. We also organize them in glossaries at the end of each chapter.
- Program development. There are many strategies for writing programs, including bottom-up, top-down, and others. We demonstrate multiple program development techniques, allowing readers to choose methods that work best for them.
- Multiple learning curves. To write a program, you have to understand the algorithm, know the programming language, and be able to debug errors. We discuss these and other aspects throughout the book, and include an appendix that summarizes our advice.