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Chapter 1

Overview: The Mental Landscape

When you begin a journey, it's a good idea to have a mental map of the terrain you'll be passing through. The same is true for an intellectual journey, such as learning to write computer programs. In this case, you'll need to know the basics of what computers are and how they work. You'll want to have some idea of what a computer program is and how one is created. Since you will be writing programs in the Java programming language, you'll want to know something about that language in particular and about the modern computing environment for which Java is designed.

As you read this chapter, don't worry if you can't understand everything in detail. (In fact, it would be impossible for you to learn all the details from the brief expositions in this chapter.) Concentrate on learning enough about the big ideas to orient yourself, in preparation for the rest of the book. Most of what is covered in this chapter will be covered in much greater detail later in the book.

Contents of Chapter 1:

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