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Recommendation: IDEs and SCJP don't mix

Bert Bates

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8898
Hi Guys,

I've read a couple of threads in this forum in the last few days that included discussions of using IDEs while studying for the SCJP exam. I really urge everyone to use only the command line commands java and javac while you'e studying for the SCJP! Don't use your IDEs!

One of the main goals behind the SCJP certification is for candidates to really understand what's going on with the compiler and the JVM, and most IDEs hide a lot of that information. I can guarantee that none of the exam questions were written using an IDE - they were all written and tested from the command line. In addition, all of the question scenarios assume that the programmer is working from the command line.



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nitin pokhriyal
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 19, 2005
Posts: 263
i think bart is right. even i found few difficulties while running few programs with command line and when i tried with IDE's it worked for me. SO what was wrong when i was running program with command line. Even IDE's stops u writing anything wrong . My suggestion is if you really having problem with command line then go for IDE and then again look what was wrong with command line. Ultimatly the goal is learning.

any suggestions?

Christophe Verré

Joined: Nov 24, 2005
Posts: 14688

True. I also recommend not to use IDEs for now.

We sometimes see people, SCJP certified, still asking questions related to the CLASSPATH. They probably used an IDE, and cannot understand a ClassNotDefFoundException when they encounter one.

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Srikanth Raghavan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 31, 2005
Posts: 389
Well, I have a mixed feeling for IDEs. I use eclipse, and I am shameless to say that I learnt inheritence, checked and unchecked exceptions, interface concept and many more after using the IDE.

I did Java when I was in college and I used to write actionPerformed() method just blindly because I want to handle some event. But when I visually saw the type hierarchy, call hierarchy, method lists, package explorer, I grasped the concepts pretty quickly.

And that interested me in learning Java, because I also learnt VB.NET when I was in college and I had an IDE to help me which frankly was very useful in visualizing things. Bert, that is where your Head First Series success started.

But, having defenended about the IDEs, this is my recommendation for anyone preparing for SCJP from scratch, I mean without knowing Java.

--> Read a book like Head First
--> Start without an IDE
--> To understand and grasp things quicker, play with and IDE
--> Get a certification book, and do the examples without an IDE (by this time you will be familiar with Java)

Not all of them will agree with me, but this is my opinion. So, what do you think Bert? Please correct me if I am wrong so that some newbie will not be mislead by my post.

Thank you!
Rohit Nath
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 16, 2006
Posts: 387
I think the only advantage of IDE should be the debugger where we can debug line by line and see the variables values at run time. This will give a clearer insight of the working of program at any given instant(state of the program).

It is gud to see runtime behavior of the program.

But command line is prefered if not taken into consideration that runtime debugging is not possible. Otherwise I fully agree with Bert.

So command line is the way to go and IDE is the next step.


Marcus Green
arch rival

Joined: Sep 14, 1999
Posts: 2813
Perhaps an even more pressing reason not to use an IDE is that sometimes an IDE will give a different result to the naked JDK. I have had serveral emails from people who have compiled some of my sample code and claimed a different result to me. When I ask about the environment it turns out to be Eclipse or Intellij generating a different result. This is not to criticise those products as the differences tend to be rare and subtle but it does happen.

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ming ming
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Joined: May 17, 2006
Posts: 54
can anyone send me the link that teach how to use command prompt or terminal to run java source code
Jon Lee
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Joined: Mar 04, 2005
Posts: 134
To learn Java, I use UltraEdit to write code and use Ant to compile and run...

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marc weber

Joined: Aug 31, 2004
Posts: 11343

Originally posted by ming ming:
can anyone send me the link that teach how to use command prompt or terminal to run java source code

That's a great question for a new topic! We wouldn't want to hijack this thread or bury a good discussion under a different subject line, so I suggest you post this in the Java in General (beginner) forum. Or if you're using a Mac (since "Terminal" is Mac's command line app), then the Mac forum would be a better place.

On topic: I think IDEs can put candidates at an disadvantage for the SCJP exam. They have their own learning curve, they hide too much of what's going on, they have their own quirks, and they are not what the exam is written for. Use the command line.
[ July 21, 2006: Message edited by: marc weber ]

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Deepak Bala

Joined: Feb 24, 2006
Posts: 6662

haha ! you wont believe this but i dont even use an IDE at work. I use the Editplus editor and then i go into command prompt to run ant. Its better that way cos i can clearly look at the errors. Yes i strongly suggest that people preparing for the SCJP dont use an IDE. You could use an editor in the later stages but watch out for code that do not use curly braces {} under if else conditions. Eclipse comes into play only when you need some bulk dev work and it can automatically generate getters and setters - given a set of variables, apart from the other useful features that come with it.

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Aum Tao
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Joined: Feb 14, 2006
Posts: 210
I have been programming for some while now. And, the only tools that I have used are Notepad and DOS.
The problem with newbies using IDEs is that they end up learning the IDE instead of the language. Also, IDEs hide the details that programmers are expected to know and understand.

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subject: Recommendation: IDEs and SCJP don't mix
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