My kids love playing Minecraft. I run a server for them. I would love for any of my kids to learn to program (and also to take over the server admin duties from me). This book immediately struck me as having great potential.
Learn to Program with Minecraft Plugins: Create Flying Creepers and Flaming Cows in Java starts slowly, but it says it is going to start slowly. As it must, the book begins with coverage of topics like installation and configuration. This is the only dull part of the whole book, and I don’t think that could be helped.
Once we get to the meat of the material, things pick up considerably. I love how the author chose to give a high level view of each topic first, to orient the reader. While doing so, consistent calming statements are made to reassure the reader that it is not necessary to understand everything being said at this stage. Then, once the big picture is painted, the details are filled in. The accompanying explanations are clear and written in an enjoyable manner.
I love how topics like pseudo-code are explained almost as an aside, but in a way that makes them seem almost obvious, as in “Oh yeah, why wouldn’t a programmer write something like that first to help the process along?”
Each chapter builds on the knowledge from the previous chapters while introducing topics in a logical order.
Almost any programming book will work for a highly motivated and brave student. However, this is one of those special books that I believe to be suitable for a tentative, interested-but-scared sort of student.
I’m impressed by the author’s ability to combine accurate details and descriptions of complex concepts in a way that I’m certain my kids could grasp and later apply to other programming languages and environments, should they wish to. Albert Einstein is reputed to have said, “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.” Author Andy Hunt has deftly proven himself as one who understands. That he is also able to express these ideas to a novice-level audience without talking down to the reader is exceptional.