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Is an IDE necessary for SCJD if yes which one?

 
Greenhorn
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Hello Friends;
I am preparing for SCJD and was wondering if I need an IDE, or having one is a good or bad idea? I am just starting out on SCJD and trying to collect as much as info needed, before I download my assignment. Also, any input on which books to use (to-the-point, hate the big thick ones) is greatly appreciated.
 
Greenhorn
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An IDE is not necessary for this assignment. I've coded the entire application using a simple text editor.
I recommend "Patterns in Java, Volume 1" by Mark Grand for a good book on using design patterns in Java.
 
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