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Java editor and JDK

Amrita Dole
Greenhorn

Joined: Nov 12, 2003
Posts: 20
Hi,
I want to download a good editor which is simple and easy to use for beginners. I am taking a course in Java next term so would like to donwload JDK as well.
Can you please send me the link where I can get both an editor and JDK?
How do I set claspath etc? I have no idea so will need complete instructions for both.
Amrita
D. Paul Allen
Greenhorn

Joined: Jan 04, 2004
Posts: 3
I use eclipse for my IDE. It's a simple interface with a lot of functionality. You can find it at:
http://www.eclipse.org
The JDK you should use, should either be the most current or that which is required for a specific project. You can find JDK links at:
http://java.sun.com
As for setting your classpath, I'm not even going to touch that one as it is environment specific. Read the documentation that comes with the JDK you download and it will have all of the information you need.
HTH
{PA}
Frank Carver
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 07, 1999
Posts: 6920
I'm not sure I'd recommend Eclipse for a beginner. Take a look in our Eclipse forum to just how much confusion and misunderstanding there can be about installing, configuring and using such a complex IDE.
For getting started, I'd recommend something like TextPad. Then, when you are happy that you know how Java works, you can check out the more complex and powerful IDEs like Eclipse, NetBeans, IDEA, etc.


Read about me at frankcarver.me ~ Raspberry Alpha Omega ~ Frank's Punchbarrel Blog
Mark Vedder
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 17, 2003
Posts: 624

Many Intro to Java books and experienced developers recommend that beginners not use an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) when first learning, but rather use a basic test editor and command line compile and run commands. I agree with that philosophy. The reason being is that most IDE's have lots of shortcuts, auto-completion features, auto code generation, etc. While that is great for experienced developers to help increase productivity, the problem with it for beginners is that it prevents them from learning -- or greatly increases the time it takes them to learn -- the intricacies of Java. It just makes sense that if something is doing something for you, you don't learn how to do it yourself. The second reason it is not recommend for beginners to use IDE's is that the student ends up spending more time trying to learn the IDE and its features, and not Java. Lastly, if you start-out with a basic Editor and command line compile & run commands, in the future, you will find it very easy to learn almost any IDE because you will understand what it needs to do, and will simply need to learn what menu or keyboard command to use to do it. Whereas if you first learn to program on an IDE, you will find yourself "stuck" with that IDE since when you try to learn a different IDE, you are always relating how it does things back to the first IDE you learned, and not the language. It makes it hard to switch IDE's.
With that said, you can use any basic test editor to code with. The key is it must be a text editor and not a word processor (i.e. it cannot add any formatting information to the file). So in windows you can simply use NotePad, or in Unix vi or emacs. For Windows, since NotePad is not the greatest text editor in terms of editing feature, you can look at some other basic text editors. There are tons out there at various freeware and shareware sites. My personal favorite is EditPad from JS Soft (Just Great Software). It's a great editor that reads/writes UNIX (LF only), Mac (CR only) and DOS/Win (CR+LF) text files. It has a great search & replace engine that supports regular expressions. There is a free version (EditPadLite) that is free for non-commercial use. Then there is a Licensed version (EditPadPro) which adds a ton of useful features. One such feature that is useful for programming is syntax color coding and highlighting. It is well worth the US $39.95 - you can download a 30 day trial as well. I�ve been using it for 3 years now, and love it. Despite all its features, it has a very light footprint (i.e. it doesn't use a lot of resources).
That's my 2 cents worth of thoughts. Hope it helps. And good luck in your studies of what I think is the greatest Programming language and environment in the world today.
Mark Vedder
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 17, 2003
Posts: 624

Oh, and to answer your question about setting up Classpaths, take a look at the New and Improved Interactive Java FAQ � specifically in the FAQ --> JavaBeginnersFaq --> HowToSetTheClasspathIf after looking reading that you having specific issue, post a question and someone can help you out. Also, look at the other articles in that section. You should find them most useful.
Also check out Sun's Online Tutorial.

New and Improved Interactive Java FAQ
[ January 04, 2004: Message edited by: Mark Vender ]
Amrita Dole
Greenhorn

Joined: Nov 12, 2003
Posts: 20
Thanks a lot for all your replies.
Amrita
David Crossett
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 05, 2003
Posts: 102
I second Mark's opinion. Definately start out with something like TextPad. That will help you learn the language the best - right at the command line. Also, if you plan to certify, that will help you understand the compiler better, as that's pretty much what the test will cover. There is a window of time when you know Java better that you can move to an IDE to REALLY speed things up. But whomever you decide to listen to will be determined by what your goals are. I like JBuilder, after coming from loving JDeveloper. You might argue that they're pretty much a matter of personal opinion. I've also heard that you don't want to get too attached to one or the other, as different development environments will make you use whatever they choose as the standard. Good luck!


David Crossett
-nothing important to say, but learnin' plenty-
Amrita Dole
Greenhorn

Joined: Nov 12, 2003
Posts: 20
Thanks.
I do have some prior Java experience. Infact, I passed the SCJP exam 2 years ago but somehow always seem to lack the confidence.
This term I will be taking a course in Object oriented programming as a part of my graduate studies.
Hence want to begin with something simple. I found Eclipse too complicated, I may spend more time learning the IDE than gaining confidence in java programming.
Will decide on something in a couple of days.
Thanks everyone for all your inputs.
Amrita
Mark Vedder
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 17, 2003
Posts: 624

If you do eventually want to check out IDE's check out IDEA by IntelliJ. I use to extensively/exclusively use NetBeans/Sun ONE Studio. A month ago I read a recommendation for IDEA and download the 30 trial. After just a few hours I was very impressed. After my first full day of using it, I converted to it and haven't looked back. I checked out Eclipse as well, but I just didn't care for it - nothing specific really, I just didn�t like its structure and it seemed as if it would take quite some time to learn to use it. (I picked up IDEA in a few hours). Maybe someday when I have more times on my hands (after I�ve learned the 3 million API�s I want to learn about) I�ll take another look at Eclipse. While Eclipse does have the advantage over IDEA of being free, I felt IDEA was worth the money (fortunately I got luckily and was looking at it when they had a holiday sale going on and picked it up at a reduce price -it might still be going on. � my job will not provide an IDE. If we want to use them, it�s "find a free one, or buy your own") IDEA is a very easy to use and understand IDE with many great features. (Why am I coming off like a salesperson in all my posts in this thread - )
Anyway, good luck with your search. Finding a comfortable set of tools to use is important. Unfortunately sometimes you just have to try them for a while to see if you like them � that can be hard when you�re busy trying to learn the language. And as David said, some shops dictate what IDE you have to use (maybe that�s good for having a common ground, but I�d hate to have to use one I didn�t like.) But if you�re just trying to find one for personal use, then just try different ones. You�ll find IDE�s can be a very personal subject. If you are just looking for a text editor, go to some of the popular shareware download sites and try some, or look at the recommendations made above.
Cindy Glass
"The Hood"
Sheriff

Joined: Sep 29, 2000
Posts: 8521
Moved to the IDE forum.


"JavaRanch, where the deer and the Certified play" - David O'Meara
Richard Chin
Greenhorn

Joined: Mar 17, 2003
Posts: 3
So much talk about Eclipse. Anyone have an opinion on Websphere Application Developer? How does it stack up with other IDE's for beginners just past the wordpad stage?
Lasse Koskela
author
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 23, 2002
Posts: 11962
    
    5
For a "beginner", I would prefer plain Eclipse over WSAD. WSAD adds so much WebSphere and J2EE specific features that the UI gets a bit cluttered, which in turn is probably not best thing for learning.


Author of Test Driven (2007) and Effective Unit Testing (2013) [Blog] [HowToAskQuestionsOnJavaRanch]
Stephen Huey
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 15, 2003
Posts: 618
Amrita, I'm sorry I didn't see your question sooner. There's a good IDE for beginners called Dr. Java, and it's specifically geared towards students. However, because of its handy built-in interpreter that allows me to write Java code on the fly without having to put it in a class or anything like that, I use it at work a lot when I need to experiment with different things.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://aspose.com/file-tools
 
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