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Eclipse to learn on? And a few other questions...

Nick Garcia
Greenhorn

Joined: Dec 30, 2008
Posts: 15
Hello!

I'm currently in a Java Programming class at my college. They're requiring us to use Eclipse, and I had a few questions on it. In another post, I saw someone saying that it's not good to learn on IDE's.

I know I'll have to use Eclipse since it's required for my class. However, when I'm learning outside of my class, should I strive to simply use notepad? (I'm on Windowz) Also, how would Eclipse compare to other programs of it's type? (whatever that type may be...)

That's it for now. I know I'll have many more!

-Efex


Carpe diem, because every day is worth living to its fullest.
Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast
Marshal

Joined: Jul 08, 2003
Posts: 24183
    
  34

Yes, Eclipse is an IDE.

Not Notepad (which will try to save your files under the wrong names, among other sins.) Even "Wordpad" is better, if you're sure to save as plain text. But there are many free text editors you can download; there's one called "TextPad" you might try.

It's important to understand how to compile with javac.exe, and run programs with java.exe, especially programs that involve (a) More than one class, and (b) Java "package" statements. Once you understand these things, then go ahead, use Eclipse.

If you start with Eclipse, then when you have to do your first "real" project, you're going to find yourself really, really confused while you struggle to learn that same stuff. It's better to learn it at the beginning.


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Nick Garcia
Greenhorn

Joined: Dec 30, 2008
Posts: 15
I see. Well, thank you for your advice (and very fast response). I'll probably start by doing my homework on notepad, then send it over to Eclipse to turn it in properly. I want to make sure I learn from the ground up!

Thanks!
-Nick
Freddy Wong
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 11, 2006
Posts: 959

You can also try PSPad or my favorite gvim Both have syntax coloring.


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Campbell Ritchie
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 13, 2005
Posts: 38441
    
  23
If you want to pretend to use NotePad, try NotePad++ or NotePad2 which are related to each other and not at all similar to NotePad, and both very nice for programming with.

Most of us old hands would recommend not starting with an IDE because the learning curve is too steep. Take up IDEs when you are more experienced.
Maneesh Godbole
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jul 26, 2007
Posts: 10268
    
    8

Agree with Campbell.
Just pick the editor which will do the indentation for you. At this level you do not need anything else.
Indentation is extremely useful in reading and understanding the code, especially while debugging.


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Nick Garcia
Greenhorn

Joined: Dec 30, 2008
Posts: 15
I see.

Alright! Well, thank you all for the feedback and advice. Now I feel like I'm starting on the right foot.

-Nick
Sachin Adat
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 03, 2007
Posts: 213
Agree with all.............
I started with notepad and compiling and running programs on the command prompt.
I was pretty sure of classpath, javac and java commands then....
Then started using eclipse on my job, and really its a great IDE, it surely speeds up development time.
Once in an interview, I was asked to write a program on paper, and wasn't able to do it in half an hour.
When I tried to do it in eclipse, did it in less than 5 mins.
Now while preparing for SCJP, I've gone back to command prompt, to really understand the concepts.
The decision is very clear, for studying java use notepad or any version of it as CR said.
But believe me in your job you should be good enough to use eclipse.............


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Edwin Stephens
Greenhorn

Joined: Dec 30, 2008
Posts: 15
Hi Nick,

If you are new to writing software, the combination of Notepad and compiling Java at the command prompt can be a decent way to start. However, after learning the basics of writing a few java classes and compiling them manually, I would highly recommend taking the plunge into Eclipse. You can literally write software probably ten times faster using an IDE like Eclipse versus the command prompt. As an example of how cool Eclipse is, you might want to try copy/pasting a Java class from Notepad into Eclipse. You will see that all your code gets color-coded. Also, you can hit Control-Shift-F, and your code will automatically get formatted. Also, you can use things like hitting Control-Space in places in your code, and Eclipse will automatically give you code-completion options.

Edwin
Jules Bach
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 28, 2008
Posts: 71
I learned java on an IDE called "BlueJ" - it's a very simple IDE designed for students who are new to learning java, rather than commercial production of java apps (although there is nothing stopping you for using in this way). It's a free download from their site:

BlueJ Website

Wikipedia BlueJ article

I thought it was a good stepping stone before moving on to eclipse..





Stephen Davies
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 23, 2008
Posts: 352
Jules Bach wrote:I learned java on an IDE called "BlueJ" - it's a very simple IDE designed for students who are new to learning java, rather than commercial production of java apps (although there is nothing stopping you for using in this way). It's a free download from their site:

BlueJ Website

Wikipedia BlueJ article

I thought it was a good stepping stone before moving on to eclipse..


I think there now even an Eclipse BlueJ plugin, for that "next step"?




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Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast
Marshal

Joined: Jul 08, 2003
Posts: 24183
    
  34

Jules Bach wrote:I learned java on an IDE called "BlueJ" -


From what I've seen, BlueJ is very guilty of the sins we're talking about -- hiding what's "really" happening from the user -- so that when something goes wrong, they're completely lost. I would not recommend it.
Campbell Ritchie
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 13, 2005
Posts: 38441
    
  23
When I started we used BlueJ and I had no end of trouble with it. I think our version was particularly bad; it seemed incapable of saving changes to my code. That was probably a local problem.
What is more, BlueJ code is a subset of Java code; you end up with part of an application and the jump to a full application is very difficult.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://aspose.com/file-tools
 
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