Murach's Java Programming, 5th Ed

Author: Joel Murach
Publisher: Murach
ISBN: 978-1943872077
Print: 1943872074
Audience: Beginning Java Programmers
Rating: 4.5
Reviewer: Mike James
An up-to-date edition of a standard Java book - worth checking out.

Murach's Java Programming has reached its fifth edition and it not only covers modern Java but it does so without the feeling that it has been patched on.

The main thing to know about this book is that it isn't for the complete beginner - this is not a dummy's book that holds your hand as you learn to program. It also takes a fairly structured approach to presenting the information. It is divided into six sections and 23 chapters. Nearly all the chapters have titles like "How to..." and within each chapter there are separate topics each titled "How to..." For example, Chapter 2, How to write your first Java application, starts with "How to code statements", "How to code comments", "How to create identifiers" and so on. Within each "How to" the style is more relaxed than you might expect, but even here the presentation follows a formula - a discussion, a short summary, a bullet point list of the key ideas and an example and screen dump were appropriate. This works well if you have forgotten what you knew about a topic or if you are moving to Java from another language. It facilitates looking something up and getting a clear idea of the bones of it so you can get on with using it.


The second important thing to know is that this book makes use of NetBeans. This is not a huge intrusion into the book in the sense that if you want to use another IDE the book is still useful, but you will find information on how NetBeans can help you manage your project. Personally I am in favour of using NetBeans because it is fully open source and fairly capable. However, the book doesn't really do it justice in the sense that there are many NetBeans facilities it doesn't really draw your attention to. This is not a book about NetBeans but about Java with the help of a little bit of NetBeans.




Section 1: Essential skills gets you started with Netbeans and Java in general. It makes use of classes, object and methods but without explaining object-oriented ideas. You simply have to know what it's all about or just take it on trust that you will find out. It includes a welcome chapter on debugging with NetBeans. At the end you have covered the basics of data, flow of control and some aspects of objects and classes - just enough to create a program.

Section 2: Object-oriented programming  provides a fairly standard introduction - classes, objects, inheritance, interfaces with a final chapter on packages and modules which are new in Java 8.

Section 3: More essential skills is basically all of the more advanced ideas that aren't covered by object-oriented programming - arrays, strings, generics, dates and times, file I/O and exceptions.

Section 4: GUI programmming starts of with a look at Java FX and then moves on to the older Swing. The advantage of using Swing is that NetBeans has a drag-and-drop editor for Swing but not for Java FX, but the book treats both GUIs as a coding problem. This is a shame as creating a GUI using the editor makes it easier to get started on Java programming in general.

Section 5: Database programming is a fairly standard account of SQLite, SQL and JDBC.

Section 6: Advanced skills covers lambda expression, streams and threads. I don't think lambdas come into the category of advanced as they are too useful early on and simplify Java programming a lot. I think the section on lambdas should be earlier and that this section needs to deal with more difficult ideas such as closure and what can go wrong. It also doesn't deal with Java on the web server or any aspect of Java on the web but my guess is these are for another book.


This is best regarded as a friendly reference book. It would also do very well as a course text because you could pick out the sections what were relevant to each stage. It isn't idea for self study however unless you have a lot of stamina but even here the way it is broken into chunks might help keep you going. A solid attempt at covering core Java.

Related Reviews

Murach's Beginning Java with NetBeans


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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 28 November 2017 )