Java Syntax from the Ground Up
This chapter is a terse but comprehensive introduction to Java syntax. It is written
primarily for readers who are new to the language but have some previous pro‐
gramming experience. Determined novices with no prior programming experience
may also find it useful. If you already know Java, you should find it a useful lan‐
guage reference. The chapter includes some comparisons of Java to C and C++ for
the benefit of programmers coming from those languages.
This chapter documents the syntax of Java programs by starting at the very lowest
level of Java syntax and building from there, covering increasingly higher orders of
structure. It covers:
• The characters used to write Java programs and the encoding of those
• Literal values, identifiers, and other tokens that comprise a Java program.
• The data types that Java can manipulate.
• The operators used in Java to group individual tokens into larger expressions.
• Statements, which group expressions and other statements to form logical
chunks of Java code.
• Methods, which are named collections of Java statements that can be invoked
by other Java code.
• Classes, which are collections of methods and fields. Classes are the central
program element in Java and form the basis for object-oriented programming.
Chapter 3 is devoted entirely to a discussion of classes and objects.
• Packages, which are collections of related classes.