I have three books on Java for beginners. I won't bother naming them all, but of the three, only one tells how to install and use an ide. What can one learn from the tedium of trying to use the command line to run Java? The ide I'm trying to learn on is JCreator. I tried to use Eclipse, but can't seem to (forget what that step is called) "educate" it as to where the Java files are located. I know that that's pretty elemental stuff, but I think that time spent on an ide is more pertinent since I doubt that many folks actually work from the command line anymore.
The opinion on this will vary from person to person, but I think that a general consensus amongst the majority is that folks should learn to code first on the command line for at least a few reasons:
1) They learn the command line tools.
2) They get a better sense of what the classpath is and how to fix classpath issues.
3) They learn one thing at a time. It's hard enough to learn Java much less Java plus a complicated IDE (as you learned when you tried to use my favorite IDE, Eclipse).
If you ask someone else, you'll likely get another opinion. For as they say in my business (the medical profession): "if you ask a barber his opinion, he'll say you need a haircut."
I am with Pete here.
At this stage of your learning, you would rather learn Java than the IDE.
Start off with command line. It will help you get your basics straight. Then you can move on to the IDE.
Remember, IDEs are meant to help you code. For that, you should learn to code first.
Also, when you become a developer, you don't always get to choose your environment -- you don't always get to be in the ivory tower.
It can be quite embarrassing to go on-site, at a customer, and can't work because you don't have your IDE with you.
I agree that "many folks [don't] actually work from the command line anymore", but you can't expect an IDE to be always available. What if you just need to do a quick compile, to change some "configuration"?
Besides if you work directly from the command line, you're more likely to learn different IDEs faster. If you get used to only one IDE, switching will be a pain in the you know where... and when you're starting to work with frameworks (CXF for instance), you usually learn how to use them from outside the IDE, running ant scripts or whatever, and once you know what you are doing, you integrate them to you your favorite tool...