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Beginning Java programming - which software to use?

 
Greenhorn
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I am starting to prepare for SCJP exam and want try running java programs.

Which is the best software (ease of use) overall?

(1) Java SDK1.2 (2) Eclipse (3) any other?

Thanks.
 
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I would suggest to use j2sdk 1.5 as it is the latest and as you are saying that you are preparing for SCJP.

SCJP i guess is in 2 flavours currently for j2sdk 1.5 (which is latest) and j2sdk1.4

For writing programs you can use any tools. Eclipse would be a good option as it is open source.

Or you can write programs in NotePad too
 
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The current version is JDK 5.0, which you can download at Sun's Java SE download page. (If you're using a Mac, then you should be ready to go without having to download, install, or configure.)

If you're starting Java, I recommend NOT using an IDE. You will not need NetBeans or Java EE (Enterprise Edition), so I recommend just downloading "JDK 5.0 Update 9" (the 3rd option on the page). Be sure to carefully follow the installation instructions -- especially the part about setting the PATH.

The installation instructions also include a link to the Java Tutorial, which you can use to compile and run a Hello World program and test your installation.

Let us know how this goes for you.
 
Greenhorn
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i support marc weber. if you starter best way to learn java is with notepad and command prompt. apart from objective type question syntax related short question comes in SCJP like they may ask you to write the correct syntax of main() method. IDEs will prompt you on syntax error and many time it auto completes. thats why ides be should be avoided at this stage.
 
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syntax related short question comes in SCJP like they may ask you to write the correct syntax of main() method.


Then passing the exam isn't worth the paper it's written on. There is no reason to know the syntax of main(), ever. Also, you can spend many frustrating hours trying to learn all the ins and outs for compiling and running programs when the time would be better spent actually learning something valuable. I'm jumping ship. Get a good IDE instead, and leave all the idiotic rules and the ridiculous developers who dreamed up such a nightmarish structure behind. If compiling and running programs in a language can't be done at the click of a button, then the language has serious design flaws and is destined to become a prehistoric relic.
[ November 03, 2006: Message edited by: sven studde ]
 
Greenhorn
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That's a bit harsh isn't it - The purpose of the exam is to have a through understanding of the language and to do that you need to be able to write syntax correct code and undertand the theory behind it. I agree with the other guys regarding notepad to help learn what an IDE can do automatically for you. I've just started studying for the SCJP myself, though I must admit I do use Eclispe from time to time for ease of development.
 
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I'd also recommend the text editor approach, but not for long. Just enough to get comfortable with compile & run, classpath, packages, jars. After a fairly short while in a text editor you're not learning much new, just slowing yourself down. IDEs like Eclipse offer too much value to pass up.

That said, after nearly 30 years in the business, using any number of IDE's (and building a couple) Eclipse was still a bit of a pain to pick up because it's short on docs. For example, every IDE has a different idea of what "project" means and it takes a while to figure out what's going on with each one. That text editor experience will help you understand what Eclipse means by different terms and features.
 
marc weber
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Originally posted by sven studde:
... Then passing the exam isn't worth the paper it's written on...


No worries... The exam is not paper-based.

Moving to the SCJP forum. Please continue this discussion there.
[ November 03, 2006: Message edited by: marc weber ]
 
sven studde
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Eclipse was still a bit of a pain to pick up because it's short on docs.


Huh? Go to any bookstore. Go to the computer section. Look in the Java section. There will probably be at least 2 books that are wholly devoted to teaching you how to use Eclipse. At amazon.com, I count 15 books on Eclipse. I would think Eclipse is one of the best documented, if not the best documented, IDE's in history.
[ November 03, 2006: Message edited by: sven studde ]
 
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Sven,

I gotta say that I wouldn't hire a programmer who couldn't easily compile, run, and debug his code from the command line. IDEs are fine, they certainly can be a great tool, but if you can't work from the command line you don't really have your fundamentals down.

[RANT]Experience from every walk of life demonstrates over and over again that the people who really nail the fundamentals are the people who succeed. This is true in sports and business at every level. Each year Tiger Woods gets golf lessons from his trainer to make sure that he hasn't lost track of how to hold the club, or set up his stance. The best ball players are the ones that practice the most, shooting free throws, or spending time in the batting cage. [/RANT]

I guarantee you that every really top notch programmer can kick butt at the command line.



Bert
 
sven studde
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I gotta say that I wouldn't hire a programmer who couldn't easily compile, run, and debug his code from the command line.



Ridiculous. If the programmer writes elegant code, knows every pattern in GOF and employs them with surgical precision, has invented hybrid patterns of his own to organize his code more effectively and make his code easier to maintain, optimizes code so that it runs faster and more efficiently than any code you've ever seen, is just off the train from Romania so he thinks $30k Euro/year is a vast fortune, but he uses Eclipse and can't compile a hello world program on his own, are you going to tell him, "Sorry, we don't allow people to use Eclipse for hello world programs. Since you are unable to compile a hello world program from the command line, we feel your future as a programmer is limited."?

IDEs are fine, they certainly can be a great tool, but if you can't work from the command line you don't really have your fundamentals down.



I ask command line compiling questions every so often, and I am amazed by how some of the most experienced and sharpest programmers online don't have a clue what they are talking about when they profer advice.
[ November 03, 2006: Message edited by: sven studde ]
 
Rancher
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Originally posted by sven studde:

If compiling and running programs in a language can't be done at the click of a button, then the language has serious design flaws and is destined to become a prehistoric relic.



I completely fail to understand what being able to easily compile a code in a certain language inside or outside of an IDE has to do with its Darwinian fate, or what that has to do with its design. Care to elaborate a bit?
[ November 03, 2006: Message edited by: Ulf Dittmer ]
 
marc weber
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Originally posted by sven studde:
...the programmer writes elegant code, knows every pattern in GOF and employs them with surgical precision, has invented hybrid patterns of his own to organize his code more effectively and make his code easier to maintain, optimizes code so that it runs faster and more efficiently than any code you've ever seen, is just off the train from Romania so he thinks $30k Euro/year is a vast fortune, but he uses Eclipse and can't compile a hello world program on his own...


Hmmm... Sounds like a world-class athlete who can't tie his own shoes.
 
Bert Bates
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Ridiculous. If the programmer writes elegant code, knows every pattern in GOF and employs them with surgical precision, has invented hybrid patterns of his own to organize his code more effectively and make his code easier to maintain, optimizes code so that it runs faster and more efficiently than any code you've ever seen, is just off the train from Romania so he thinks $30k Euro/year is a vast fortune, but he uses Eclipse and can't compile a hello world program on his own, are you going to tell him, "Sorry, we don't allow people to use Eclipse for hello world programs. Since you are unable to compile a hello world program from the command line, we feel your future as a programmer is limited."?

I ask command line compiling questions every so often, and I am amazed by how some of the most experienced and sharpest programmers online don't have a clue what they are talking about when they profer advice.



With all due respect, it's hard to imagine one person having the lopsided skill set you're describing. It's kind of like saying that you know some real kick butt electrical engineers who are a little weak on their algebra. In my 30 years in the software biz, I've never encountered a programmer like the one you describe. Now, I've certainly encountered programmers who are lost outside their IDE, but none of them were kick butt programmers...
 
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In my 30 years in the software biz, I've never encountered a programmer like the one you describe. Now, I've certainly encountered programmers who are lost outside their IDE, but none of them were kick butt programmers...



In total agreement. Almost all of the "kick butt programmers" that I have met are "jack of all trades" types. Knowing numerous programming languges, have use many types of operating systems, and have administered databases, web/app servers, and/or even network routers.

I am *not* saying that they are experts at these other fields, or even in all the environments... but they show absolutely no fear to leave their comfort zone and try different things.

Henry
 
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I would recommend using BlueJ IDE as an IDE for starters. It does not have any code completion capabilities, but a very good tool to start coding simple programs. It allows visualizing classes relationships which is very helpful for somebody who just begins learning Java.
 
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You need to know how to compile Java code with the JDK, but you also need better feedback when you have compile errors.

For help writing and compiling Java code, here are a few
Free Tutorials on Using the JDK

Download ecplipse, and get familiar with the debug perspective. www.eclipse.org. It will also give you some familiarity with a tool that is used quite heavily by IBM and IBM partners.

Cheers!

-Cameron McKenzie
 
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Hi Guys,

By Bert Bates,

Experience from every walk of life demonstrates over and over again that the people who really nail the fundamentals are the people who succeed.



The above is 200% true.

Beginners can start with blueJ instead of a notepad. I started with blueJ and when I migrated to netBeans, I found myself a bit relaxed in the IDE environment that I gained with blueJ.

Regards,
Jothi Shankar Kumar. S
 
arch rival
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Between Mr Bates and myself we seem to have 50 years of software experience, our opinions have not been formed lightly. I have spent 2 years of my life teaching programming full time.

The purpose of the SCJP exam is to show you know the basics of the programming language very well. As in any field of expertiese, knowledge is a pyramid and to fully understand your subject you start with the basics.

I get a steady trickle of feedback from users of my mock exams who have been mislead by the feedback from the eclipse IDE. Typically this is in the form of something that the JDK will flag as a warning and eclipse flags an error. This is a minor difference but when composing the exam the people who create the questions need a baseline standard, they cannot cater for every slight variation of IDE tool. So those users who ignore the advice to use the JDK waste my time with misleading questions when I could be creating more learning material.

Let me make it clear that I believe that an IDE can be a very good thing indeed and eclipse is a very fine tool for writing code commercially. Personally I am a big fan of the NetBeans IDE for features such as syntax highlighting, code indentation, code completion and a whole host of other features. Where I work we use Intellij and I have yet to use the basic JDK at work.

But learning the language and commercial work are two very different fields of endevour. My advice is to start your learning with the JDK. Thanks for your comments Sven, this is a topic well worth discussing.
[ November 04, 2006: Message edited by: Marcus Green ]
 
mano kuttan
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Thank you for the the comments - appreciate it.
I downloaded and insallted JDK "1.5.0.6"

compiled and ran a small program from the book.

As folks mentioned, i would try this way (command line) for sometime and then goto an IDE (BlueJ?).

Yes, my intention is to pass SJCP and reading Headfirst Java to begin with.

Thanks again.
[ November 04, 2006: Message edited by: mano kuttan ]
 
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Dear mano,
You may choose GVIM(vim) as an editor.It is a enhanced version of vi gives you a feel of Unix on your machine(Windows).
http://www.vim.org/
My suggesion is dont go for any IDE untill you gets your certificate.
 
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Depending on the version of SCJP that you are taking download that JDK software from sun site.

I would advice you to compile and run your programs manually as it can give you better insight and things like. You can still use eclipse etc to create your java code but the set the build automatically to false so that you can compile it and understand how JDK works better.

Once you are on the job, I am guaranteeing you that you will never run a javac or any other jdk command. Most of your work will revolve around, IDEs or ant build tool or something like that.
 
marc weber
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Originally posted by Ramkumar Sridharan:
...Once you are on the job, I am guaranteeing you that you will never run a javac or any other jdk command...


Uh... How can I cash in on that guarantee?
 
Don't get me started about those stupid light bulbs.
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