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writing my first programs

Jesse Crockett
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Joined: Feb 03, 2005
Posts: 129
Hello, I'm Jesse. This is my first post to the forum. I've read some information about learning Java, that it's best to avoid using an IDE. The relevant applications on my system are MS Visual C++ beta, NetBeans 3.6, and the J2SDK. In the J2 readme there is no mention of an editor, only stuff to compile and run the code. Should I stop using NetBeans and write to Notepad? NetBeans is cool, but complex, and I don't want to use Notepad unless I'm told that I really should. Btw, the intro book I'm reading is Head First Java, and I have no previous high-level programming experience.
Jeroen Wenting
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Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
No need to use Notepad, there's tons of editors out there.

As you've noticed Netbeans is a rather complex piece of kit and learning to use it detracts you from learning Java (not to mention that using its many features will slow down your learning of the language as it will start to write code for you).
The same is true for all fullfeatured IDEs.

There's many alternatives though that offer a good middle ground. Syntax highlighting, automatic indentation, but not all the advanced features.

Examples are VIM (http://www.vim.org), Jext (http://www.jext.org) and JEdit (http://www.jedit.org).
Those are good to learn and later when you're working in places where a complete IDE is either unavailable or your computer isn't powerful enough to run one.


42
Matt Fielder
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Joined: Oct 27, 2004
Posts: 158
I disagree. Start with Notepad to write. You'll be writing simple stuff and until you can understand at least the basics, you might tend to use IDEs of any sort as a crutch. I'm to the point where I just started using Eclipse and am glad I waited. I can see how the many aids that Eclipse provides would actually not help and just complicate things.
Max Habibi
town drunk
( and author)
Sheriff

Joined: Jun 27, 2002
Posts: 4118
I'm with Matt, thought I would suggest www.textpad.com, because it does some keyword highlighting( and very little else). At some point, you need to learn what's really going on under the covers, just so you don't become a tool jockey. You need to understand classpaths, packages, dependencies, etc. This is the perfect time. IDE's will come and go: you need to understand the language itself.

All best,
M


Java Regular Expressions
Jesse Crockett
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Joined: Feb 03, 2005
Posts: 129
Wow, so much good advice for somebody's first post. This place is awesome!
Jeroen Wenting
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Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
Matt, I suggest editors which offer syntax highlighting and little more.
Makes life a tad easier by pointing out spelling errors without causing sensory overload with tons of features
M Beck
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Joined: Jan 14, 2005
Posts: 323
i second the recommendation of TextPad as an editor. it'll do just enough of the work for you (indent your lines more or less automatically, for example) that you won't get bogged down in drudgework typing, yet it'll leave the actual learning and coding up to you.

no, i don't ordinarily use it myself, but that's because i don't ordinarily use Microsoft Windows. when i do, however, it's a great help!
[ February 04, 2005: Message edited by: M Beck ]
Jesse Crockett
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Joined: Feb 03, 2005
Posts: 129
Thanks all. And hey, moreover for being nice to a windows user. I'm a freshman CS student, so I will get a linux hard drive for my dell box fairly soon. I've installed TextPad, now off to see how it works.
Jeroen Wenting
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
Windows is a great platform to write on. I personally have both Windows and Linux machines running and I must say Windows for desktop use is superior.
For servers Unix is often better because it's more configurable but that comes at a price as you need far more expertise to do that properly (which we have in the company, I don't claim to have it myself).
 
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