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Newbie question on javac

Jose Kampilan

Joined: Aug 04, 2012
Posts: 11

I recently bought the Headfirst Java and it recommended this forum for questions regarding java.

Question: Is it correct to use the windows command prompt to access javac?

i'm not sure if what im doing with the command line is correct (or if thats the right tool i should be using). the picture of the command prompt in the book doesnt look similar to the command prompt i'm using. the one in the book has "File", "Edit", "Window", "Help" and uses the "%" sign. the command prompt im using is just a simple black screen, no buttons on the top just "C:\Users>" and doesnt recognize "%".

im more familiar with an ide but the book said that i shouldn't use one just yet.

Problem: when i, idk whats the term, run javac using the command prompt to compile a source file, it says it cannot find the file.

this is what i type: javac then it returns something like "file not found:". Should i put the source file in a certain folder? It's currently on the desktop and not in any particular folder.
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba

Joined: Oct 02, 2003
Posts: 11230

the cmd.exe is the correct place. I think the book tends to use the Mac/Apple OS for pictures, so don't let that worry you.

The file can be anywhere...but you have to tell the java compiler where it really is. By default, it looks in the 'current' directory - i.e. wherever your cmd window says it is. Generally, you would make something like a C:\java\projects directory, and put the .java file there.

I have a C:\slop directory I use. Then, I cd into it, and then just type "javac". If i was somewhere else, I could type "javac c:\slop\"

There are only two hard things in computer science: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors
Campbell Ritchie

Joined: Oct 13, 2005
Posts: 38363
Welcome to the Ranch

This is what I suggest about running the command prompt. I think, apart from the file name, it is the same as Fred suggested earlier.
Jose Kampilan

Joined: Aug 04, 2012
Posts: 11
@fred: thanks man. what you said worked. also, i was encountering the "file not found" error because i was only putting the location of the folder. didnt know i was supposed to also include the file.

@campbell: this looks like a place friendly to newbies like me.
It is sorta covered in the JavaRanch Style Guide.
subject: Newbie question on javac