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Help needed

Tom Little

Joined: Oct 24, 2009
Posts: 20
I just picked up Head First Java and in the intro (xxviii) it asks me to download Java 2 SDK but I'm really not entirely sure which one to download on the Sun Page, is this the right page?

If so which one do I download? Sorry I am new I hope this is the right section thanks a lot!
Rob Spoor

Joined: Oct 27, 2005
Posts: 20276

From that page, open the "Java SE" tree node, then click on "Java SE (JDK) 6". Then you should download either "JDK 6 Update 16" or "JDK 6 Update 16 with NetBeans 6.7.1". You don't need Java EE or JavaFX SDK at this time.

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Rob Poulos
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 21, 2009
Posts: 49
i would suggest just downloading the "JDK 6 Update 16" and then download the Eclipse IDE. really a matter of personal prefference but i believe Eclipse is more popular

you can download it here:

SCJA, ITIL V3 Foudation, Studying for SCJP6
Campbell Ritchie

Joined: Oct 13, 2005
Posts: 46405
Welcome to JavaRanch

Agree with Rob, but don't use NetBeans or Eclipse until you are a lot more experienced. When you start getting error messages about "javac is not recognized . . . " read this.
Tom Little

Joined: Oct 24, 2009
Posts: 20
Ok thank you!! I already have NetBeans downloaded and I understand it a little bit but should I use that along with the book? It says here

"You need a text editor. Virtually any text editor will do. Notepad, Worldpad, Textedit all work as long as you make sure they dont append a txt on to the end of your source code"

I've read many tutorials that simply use Notepad then command prompt to run small beginner programs but I am more than happy to use NetBeans or any other suggested.

This is where I got confused here ill re type exactly what it says.

"Once you've downloaded and unpacked/zipped/whatever (depends on which version and for which OS), you need to add an entry to your PATH environment variable that points to the /bin directory inside the main Java directory. For example, if the J2SDK puts a directory on your drive called "J2sdk1.5.0", look inside that directory and you'll find the "bin" directory where the Java binaries (the tools) live. Tha (I think they meant 'that' might've been a typo) bin directory is the one you need a PATH to, so that when you type : % javac at the command-line, your terminal will know how to find the javac cimpiler."

I had no idea what it means by the above paragraph, if you could just summarize or explain it that would be of great help. Thanks to everyone in advance!!
Janeice DelVecchio
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Sep 14, 2009
Posts: 1789

I use notepad+.... netbeans has too much going on..... and I don't like having to learn a new application while I'm trying to learn other things. It gets to be overwhelming. Notepad+ or JEdit are pretty good.

If you're using windows, you'll need to set the path for your java compiler to work easiest. I'm pretty sure that's what Campbell's link was for. :-)

Good luck!

When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all.
Campbell Ritchie

Joined: Oct 13, 2005
Posts: 46405
By Notepad+, I presume you mean Notepad++? Excellent product, far better for programming than M$ Notepad. Notepad2 and jEdit are also good.
And yes, the link is about the PATH.

The PATH variable tells the operating system where to find the "javac" and "java" and similar commands. If you don't tell it how to find them, your computer cannot execute those commands.
I agree. Here's the link:
subject: Help needed
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