The purpose of Sams Teach Yourself Java 2 Programming in 24 Hours, Third Edition is to help you become comfortable with the concepts of programming and confident in your ability to write your own applications and applets. Java has an approach that is somewhat difficult to master. (Feel free to scratch out the word "somewhat" in the previous sentence if it's a gross misstatement of the truth.)
As you build experience in Java, you're building experience that will be increasingly relevant in the coming years, because concepts such as object-oriented programming, virtual machines, and secure environments are on the leading edge of software development.
If you haven't already, you should read the appendixes to find out about this book's Web site, additional Java books from Sams Publishing, and other useful information.
At the conclusion of this hour, you can explore Java in several different places. Programmers are discussing the language in comp.lang.java.programmer and other Usenet discussion groups. Several hundred Java User Groups meet regularly, according to the list published at Sun's Java site (http://servlet.java.sun.com/jugs). Numerous Java job openings are displayed in the database of employment World Wide Web sites such as http://www.careerbuilder.com. There's also a Web site for this book at http://www.java24hours.com where you can send electronic mail to the author and read answers to reader questions, clarifications to the book, and (gulp) corrections.
Of course, my favorite way for you to continue building your skills as a Java programmer is to read Sams Teach Yourself Java 2 in 21 Days, Third Edition. I coauthored the book with Laura Lemay, and it expands on the subjects covered here and introduces new ones, such as JavaSound, JavaBeans, and network programming.
My apologies for this brazen attempt to hawk another book...if I sell enough copies, my name is entered into a drawing with other top Sams authors to win special prizes.
My heart's set on a Kool Orange Schwinn Sting-Ray bicycle with a banana seat.