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A thought and a grumble

Ed Dablin
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Joined: Oct 09, 2012
Posts: 32
I'm finding that 90 percent of the problems I face as a java beginner are related to the programming environment.
For example, learning the quirks of the IDE (Eclipse in my case), which today locked me out of all my projects in project explorer, and I still don't know why.
Then there are the mysteries of classpaths etcetera when operating in the JDK command line version.
These environmental issues can take up a whole day when you're learning on your own.
It is normally impossible to explain these issues on a forum - you need to be there to see for yourself!
In comparison, the actual coding is the easy bit.
Just a thought and a grumble. Now back to work...

Henry Wong
author
Sheriff

Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 18896
    
  40

Ed Dablin wrote:I'm finding that 90 percent of the problems I face as a java beginner are related to the programming environment.
For example, learning the quirks of the IDE (Eclipse in my case), which today locked me out of all my projects in project explorer, and I still don't know why.
Then there are the mysteries of classpaths etcetera when operating in the JDK command line version.
These environmental issues can take up a whole day when you're learning on your own.
It is normally impossible to explain these issues on a forum - you need to be there to see for yourself!
In comparison, the actual coding is the easy bit.
Just a thought and a grumble. Now back to work...


Isn't that true for everything? The real world is messy.

Henry

Books: Java Threads, 3rd Edition, Jini in a Nutshell, and Java Gems (contributor)
Paul Clapham
Bartender

Joined: Oct 14, 2005
Posts: 18669
    
    8

Ah yes, I remember it well...

Now that I have the classpath stuff down pat, there are other timewasters. The other day I spent several hours fixing my Websphere configuration: I had hard-coded an entry in a data source to make it work with a database on the test machine, then a month later I switched it over to connect with the database on a new test machine and it didn't work. It took me most of the day to find that hard-coded entry (which of course I had forgotten about) and remove it.

So yeah, the actual coding is the easy bit, like you said. Configuring the environment to run that code in can definitely be a PITA.
Paul Witten
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 10, 2012
Posts: 86
Paul Clapham wrote: It took me most of the day to find that hard-coded entry (which of course I had forgotten about) and remove it.

Problems appear a lot simpler in the rear view mirror (than they do real-time), hehehe.
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
Bartender

Joined: Oct 02, 2003
Posts: 11420
    
  16

Ed Dablin wrote:I'm finding that 90 percent of the problems I face as a java beginner are related to the programming environment.
For example, learning the quirks of the IDE (Eclipse in my case)...

Which is why most folk around here recommend beginners DON'T USE an IDE.


There are only two hard things in computer science: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors
Ed Dablin
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 09, 2012
Posts: 32
fred rosenberger wrote:
Ed Dablin wrote:I'm finding that 90 percent of the problems I face as a java beginner are related to the programming environment.
For example, learning the quirks of the IDE (Eclipse in my case)...

Which is why most folk around here recommend beginners DON'T USE an IDE.


Fred, I think you are right. I think it is easier to learn using javac.exe and java.exe with, say, Notepass++ or Textwrangler, in the Command/Terminal window environment. Others may think otherwise....
Paul Witten
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 10, 2012
Posts: 86
Ed Dablin wrote:Fred, I think you are right. I think it is easier to learn using javac.exe and java.exe with, say, Notepass++ or Textwrangler, in the Command/Terminal window environment. Others may think otherwise....

Wait until you want to create a multi-package project (classes/jars found in separate paths) without an IDE. It's one of those things you have to savor at the moment. :-D You'll be begging for an IDE after that. Har. But it's a great learning experience to create a project like that. You will get a much greater understanding of what goes on.

But for refactoring and debugging, well, no comparison to the IDE. There is a reason why the IDE is considered a productivity tool. Maybe it's not a great learning tool, but it's a great productivity tool on the job. If somebody tells you to refactor a package you are far less likely to break the build. That means your palms don't sweat quite as much when you submit the new source files. Yes, sleeping well at night does count.
Campbell Ritchie
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 13, 2005
Posts: 39435
    
  28
Paul W, you are right. An IDE is probably essential once you start writing large projects. By which time, you will be familiar with syntax and paths and command‑line options and can really benefit from the IDE.
Ed Dablin, by Notepass++ do you mean NotePad++? An excellent editor. Set up syntax colouring, bracket highlighting, automatic indentation (1 tab converted to 4 spaces automatically), and it will make things a lot easier for you. I am not familiar with TextWrangler.
Jayesh A Lalwani
Bartender

Joined: Jan 17, 2008
Posts: 2409
    
  28

Since we started using Maven, the only reason to use IDE is debugging and code completion. You can pretty much maintain a multi module project using text editors if you have configured it with maven. Actually, my boss and his boss have never used IDE. We used to be all ANT around here, and since we moved to maven the text editor users are very happy since Maven allows them to limit the number of unit tests they have to run.

Actually, I kind of see their point. Usually it's after for me to run an unit test on the command line through maven than to run it in eclipse. Plus it forces me to add extra logging which is helpful in the long run when problems crop up in production. I am still attached to myIDE though, mainly because of code complete. I wishe there were a lighter IDE that only did code completion and delegated everything else to maven.
Jelle Klap
Bartender

Joined: Mar 10, 2008
Posts: 1778
    
    7

You can do that with ANT as well, but if you're looking to integrate Maven with an IDE, you can do that with Eclipse and the Sonatype m2eclipse plugin.


Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
Campbell Ritchie
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 13, 2005
Posts: 39435
    
  28
If you are a real beginner, forget about ANT, Maven, Eclipse, NetBeans, InltelliJ, etc etc. Stick to the command line/terminal and use a decent text editor, as previously mentioned.
 
 
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