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1-Programming Books and courseware since 1974

Programming books and courseware since 1974

Today, our books are not only used by developers in Fortune 500 companies, but also by dozens of universities, colleges, technical institutes, and community colleges. What’s more, the same book that’s used by a technical institute is often used by a college or university program too.

Sound impossible? Take a few minutes to learn more about us. Then, request a free review copy of one of our books to see for yourself how well they work!

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Murach’s HTML5 and CSS3 (3rd Edition)

This 3rd edition presents a complete course in web design using HTML5 and CSS3. It starts with a crash course...including a new chapter on Responsive Web Design...that gets your students using HTML and CSS at a professional level right away. It is followed by three sections that can be taught in whatever sequence you think works best.

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3-Our courseware provides everything you need

Our courseware provides everything you need…
except the busywork

When it comes to courseware, our focus is on the activities that matter...both for the student and the instructor. That’s why all of the exercises in our books and all of our courseware is designed to build valuable skills…without any of the busywork that you find in other books.

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4 - Beginning - Java - Eclipse

Just published

Murach’s Beginning Java with Eclipse

At last, a new approach to teaching Java. This book uses the Eclipse IDE and a more refined approach from long-time Java author Joel Murach.

Now, your students can learn a complete set of skills in each chapter, and then practice those skills by doing our unique exercises. This means that they can learn faster and better than ever. 

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Buy Murach Books

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To buy Murach books, please visit our retail site.

Review Our Books for Adoption

This is our site for college instructors. Please use it to review our books and courseware for possible adoption.

What Instructors Say About Our Books

Our students always give feedback on their end-of-course evaluations that Murach textbooks are so well organized and easy to follow, with plenty of code examples, figures, and instructions. They all love Murach’s.”

Roger Fang, CIS Instructor
Arkansas Tech University, Russellville, Arkansas | Read More Testimonials ›

Who uses our books

Although it’s rare for the same book to be used in 4-year colleges and universities as well as in community and technical colleges, our books frequently are. Here, for example, are some pairings for our recent books:

  • Murach’s PHP and MySQL is being used at Drexel University, Dakota State University, DeVry University, Montgomery College (Maryland), Fox Valley Technical College (Wisconsin), and Augusta Technical College
  • Murach’s SQL Server is being used at Oklahoma State University, University of Nevada-Reno, Northwestern Michigan College, New Brunswick Community College, and Minneapolis Community & Technical College
  • Murach’s HTML5 and CSS3 is being used at Boston University, Loyola Univ Maryland, Baruch College (CUNY), Kirkwood Community College (Iowa), Red Rocks Community College (Colorado), Forsyth Technical Community College (North Carolina), and British Columbia Institute of Technology
  • Murach’s C# is being used at Texas A&M, University of Arkansas, New Mexico State University, San Diego Mesa College, Moraine Valley Community College (Illinois), and Springfield Technical College (Massachusetts)
  • Murach’s Java Programming is being used at the University of Pennsylvania, Cal Poly/Pomona, Southern New Hampshire University, National American University, St. Louis Community College, and Trident Technical College (South Carolina)

Why students learn more with our books

Our paired-pages format lets students read less and learn more

About 15 years ago, we realized that there was something patently wrong with all textbooks, including ours. The problem was that students had to dig out the skill-building information that they needed from pages heavy with text. Then, to review or use that information, they had to dig it out again. That’s when we developed a new presentation method that we now call paired pages.

With this presentation method, all of the subject matter is broken down into manageable chunks, or topics, that can be presented in a two-page spread. In each spread, the right page is a figure that contains the critical syntax, examples, and bulleted guidelines; the left page is text that gives perspective and extra explanation.

One benefit of this format is that it lets students learn faster because they don’t have to read as much. To test that, just compare a topic in one of our books with the same topic in a competing book. You may be surprised at how efficient our treatment is.

The other benefit is that it makes it easier for your students to review what they’ve learned; all the details are right there, on the righthand page. That helps them prepare for tests, of course. But it also helps them do the exercises and projects more efficiently because they can easily refresh their memories. And that really helps them learn faster.

One instructor put it this way: “My students really love the format of your books. They like learning about a new skill set on the left-hand page and then immediately being able to put it into action on the right-hand side of the page They feel this type of learning helps them really reinforce the new concepts immediately.”

Better structure leads to easier learning and better retention

If you study our books, you’ll see that they are highly structured from top to bottom: sections, chapters, and topics within chapters. Specifically, each section groups chapters into a logical structure, and each chapter groups topics and subtopics into a logical structure. What’s more, the vast majority of topics have “how to” in the title, so they’re clearly focused on concrete skills.

As the students read our books, this structure becomes apparent to them, and that helps them understand how all the components and skills that they’re learning are related. They also realize that in each chapter, they’re learning “how to” do useful things…they’re retaining what they’ve learned…they can move confidently to the next topic…and they can easily go back and find what they need if they’ve missed something. All because the relationships are clear.

That sounds simple enough, but if you study the tables of contents of most college textbooks, you’ll find that they don’t have much structure. Often they’ve evolved from an author’s notes or courses, without much thought given to how that’s going to work in a text.

In contrast, we take more time to plan the structure of a book and its chapters…even in revised editions…than most authors take to write the first 4 or 5 chapters.
The result, as one instructor told us: “Our students always give feedback on their end-of-course evaluations that Murach textbooks are so well organized and easy to follow. They all love Murach’s.”

Concepts and theory are never presented without application

To paraphrase Jerome S. Bruner, the Harvard educational psychologist, “Concepts and theory introduced without application never introduced anything but boredom.”

But that’s what many college textbooks do, especially in the introductory chapters. You can spot these portions of a book because they consist of many text pages with little or no illustration. For instance, one of the leading Java textbooks presents all of the following concepts and terms in a 5-page span: object, attribute, class, interfaces, instance, instantiation, encapsulation, inheritance, base class, subclass, information hiding, method...with no examples. Isn’t it obvious how frustrating and useless that is to the student?

In our books, we avoid this trap in two ways:

  1. We select the content for each book based on a task analysis of the skills that are required on the job. Then, we only present the concepts and terms that are needed for mastering those skills.
  2. Our paired-pages format forces us to illustrate every concept and term that we introduce.

Our exercises provide more practice in less time

The exercises for our books give students a chance to get valuable, hands-on experience without wasting any time. That’s because we provide the starting code. That way, the students don’t have to enter the routine code that they already know (that is, the code that any professional is going to copy from an existing application or template).

In the early chapters, our exercises guide the students through the application of what they’ve just learned. Later, they challenge the students to apply what they’ve learned in new ways. But always, our exercises force the students to practice the skills that they need to build real-world applications. As we see it, that’s the only activity that helps students achieve the most important objectives of a course.

Unlike many competing books, though, our exercises never introduce skills that weren’t already presented in the chapter. As a result, your students won’t get discouraged trying to apply skills they haven’t yet been taught. And they won’t have to search through the exercises later on, to find where the information they need is buried.

As we see it, this is the only sensible approach to text and exercise design. We believe that students should be able to look at a chapter’s table of contents to see what they’re going to learn, learn it, and then apply it to prove that they’ve learned it. Anything else leads to wasted time and frustration.

Our complete, real-world applications lead to mastery

From the first book we published in 1974 to the present, all of our books teach by presenting complete, real-world applications, including design, code, and all related components. These applications help your students get started quickly and also help them reach new skill levels. As we see it, studying applications like these is the best way to learn how all of the parts work together, which is essential for mastery.

Of course, all programming textbooks present complete applications. So what’s different about ours?

  • They always illustrate code and coding practices that are typical of the work done by professionals.
  • They show how to handle user interactions and database data in a way that guards against unexpected errors, making the applications “bulletproof,” as they have to be in business.
  • They move from the simple to real-world complexity so students get an accurate view of the demands of programming at a professional level.

In contrast, most competing books tend to trivialize programming by presenting simplistic applications throughout the entire book. Many Java books, for example, use “toy” applications to illustrate object-oriented programming. Some of the best-selling C# and VB books never present data validation or exception handling or a block of code that’s more than several lines long. And most PHP books introduce the MVC pattern far too late because none of their application examples are extensive enough to illustrate its usefulness.

The problem is that the applications in a book largely determine how much a student can learn. If, for example, your students are never shown realistic applications that illustrate the best professional practices, how can they be expected to reach that skill level? As we see it, that’s a serious shortcoming of most programming texts...but one that you won’t find in ours.

Why instructors adopt our books

Their students learn more and enjoy their courses more

We frequently get emails from instructors like these:

“My students are learning more than they did with the previous book.”

“Several students have asked that we use Murach books for all our courses.”

“My students and I just ‘love’ your books.”

“I was concerned about changing texts initially, but the student feedback on your texts has been amazing. I have had students buy these textbooks who had previously not bought a textbook since first year.”

If you read Why students learn more with our books, you’ll discover some of the underlying reasons for reactions like these. But briefly, our books present the material in a way that gets students doing productive work right away, delivers real-world skills, and gives them confidence that they know what they’re doing.

So if the greatest reward of education is the joy of greater understanding…and we think it is…your students will also enjoy the course more.

Our courseware provides everything they need

Unlike other publishers, we don’t present all of the instructional materials for students at the ends of the chapters in the book. But don’t be put off by that, because we do provide complete courseware for both students and instructors. We just package it differently. To learn more, please go to About our Courseware.

The modularity of our books lets them customize their courses

In the first section or two of all our books, we present the core content for the subject, which includes a complete subset of usable skills. For instance, in the table of contents that follows, which is for our HTML5 and CSS3 book, the first section presents a crash course in HTML and CSS. This section shows how to use the essential HTML elements, CSS selectors, and CSS properties. But beyond that, it shows how HTML and CSS are related, which prepares the reader for all of the chapters that follow.

Murach’s HTML5 and CSS3

After the core content, each section of the book is designed as an independent module. This means that these sections don’t have to be taught in sequence. As a result, you can customize your courses by assigning just those sections that you want to teach. For instance, in the table of contents above, you can skip to section 4 after you complete section 1.

Whenever possible, each of the chapters is also designed as an independent module. In that case, you can further customize your courses by assigning just those chapters that you want to teach.

If, for example, you want to teach more about using images after you teach section 1 in the contents above, you can skip to chapter 8. If you want to show how to use the data validation features for forms, you can skip to chapter 10. If you want to teach web design principles, you can skip to chapter 17. In short, you create the course that will work best for your students.

Our books provide consistency from one course to another

In contrast to other books, ours are designed and developed by a small group of writers and editors. As a result, we can and do coordinate the structure and contents of our books so they work together in a curriculum.

This means that you won’t get unnecessary duplication in two or more of our books. This also means that you can be sure that one of our beginning books really does provide all of the prerequisites for one of our advanced books. For instance:

  • Our core Java book can be used in a series with our servlets/JSP book to teach students how to develop web applications in Java…or with our Android book to teach them how to do mobile programming.
  • Our two C# books (one on core C#, the other on ASP.NET) can be used together to teach students how to develop web applications with ASP.NET and C#.
  • Our SQL books on SQL Server, Oracle, and MySQL can be used in combination with any of our programming language books to build out your students’ database skills.
  • Our HTML5 and jQuery books can be used with any of our other web programming books to build out your students’ web development skills.

Our books motivate their students

We recently got an email that said:

“Murach books are great. I began programming in college using other books; however, I didn’t learn much except to finish work and pass exams. When I started using Murach books, my desire to become a real software engineer went up.”

The fact is that many programming textbooks today are so “dumbed down” that it doesn’t take much to pass the courses. The basic approach in each chapter of those books is to (1) present some new skills, (2) present a simple application that requires those skills, (3) step the students through the development of that application, and (4) ask the students to develop another application that is almost identical to the one they just walked through.

The main problem with this approach is that it bores and discourages your students. In fact, one common outcome of introductory courses in all departments is that the students who took the course because they thought they might want to major in that field decide that they don’t want to major in it after all!

In contrast, our professional approach treats your students with respect, gives them insight into the real world, and whets their appetite for more. You’ll find that this shows up in course evaluations, in the quality of students that your program attracts, and in the job placement level that your department becomes famous for.

Murach college books and courseware since 1974