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Awkward Situation (Maybe)

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Hello JavaRanch: hopefully all is lovely across the way;

I am new here and new to JAVA and this is my first post. The whole 'forum' idea is somewhat new to me as well (for real). I already know the following is lengthy (sort of) because I didn't quite figure out the "Add New Topic" button was actually the 'send' button until now. However, there is one element of 'fortuitousness' involved here: I saved the letter. "Hence" 3 hours later...we try again (me & Sybil...)...[a little levity there please]...anyway:

I have recently acquired 'Head Start Java' based on the volume of extremely favorable reviews on I had been trying to navigate through a different book ("Java Programming", Joyce Farrell, 2nd Edition), and have had some experience as a 'technical editor' (long ago...and meaning I looked for mistakes and inconsistencies in a technical manual and other people agreed that 'yes, indeed', my vetting was plausible...). Once you do this, you will never read a book the same again. Mistakes appear like movie stars*.

Finally, after an exasperating and very time consuming foray into Farrell's book, I tracked Amazon's reviews of said book: 1 star (and for all the right reasons [PLUS the apparently excruciating blunders involving the JAVA aspects of the book]...and of 'dubious reflection on many things of late...' the 2 five star reviews of said book were both anonymous...). So I purchased "Head Start Java" and hence, now I am here.

I think my situation is somewhat awkward: I loaded JDK 1.4 on the computer I use (from J.F.'s book), however "Head Start Java" requires JDK 5. I have joined Sun Development Network and downloaded all kinds of things: the JDM, JAVA5BUNDLEWITHNETBEANS, the JDE, changed the auto.exec.bat, etc. But nothing works. However, there remain some possibly ethereal circumstances involved here: the computer I use is not hooked up to the internet. I'm an idiot. A person I know who seems reasonably knowledgable says I don't need all these things I downloaded (literally put on a travel drive and whisked away). He says all I need is JDK 5 which I can get from JGRASP. I look at JGrasp's page and confusion pervades like holes in Swiss. Earlier in this post, I suggested one of the 'ethereal circumstances' surrounding this situation might be the possibility I'm an idiot. Well let's clear the air on that possibility: I AM an idiot with computers. But I have had some momentary fits of success during the 6 months or so I've been involved with computers (successes with making HTML, CSS, and multiple Javascripts** all work on the same ['fairly cool' I still think] page).

Oddly enough, my culminating success (an external style sheet controlling multiple pages, inline frames, drop-caps, disco-bars, tiered rollovers w/opacity accuotrements, cool-map of Mid. East created in Fireworks (4), many different [like 12], external Javascripts culminating in a harmonious confluence of data on one multi-layered, 'user doesn't have to scroll' news page (of which that little yellow triangle with intangible logic still haunts me EVERYTIME I opt to gawk at my creation...) blah, blah, blah WAS THE POINT of no return: learn JAVA or die (actually, sans drama, I really mean 'learn JAVA or be bored to tears cutting and pasting Javascripts...). So again, hence, I am here.

So what I'm hoping somebody out there might find the time to do is, is explain in baser-than-layman-terms how I might go about getting JDK 5 onto my travel drive and on my netless computer. Is there a disc I can buy somewhere which works kind of like the 1.4 JGRASP disc which came with author Farrell's book. Is that necessary? Should I catagorically uninstall the various things I've installed up to this point (the dreaded 'U' word...). BUT WAIT DEAR READER...I'm not absolutely certain these 'things' are installed...I can access them, they appear, they don't do anything (other than tell me they can't do anything...). So basically I'm lost.

And it's no fun being a JAVAWANNABE.

In closing, Thank You for reading this (whoever you may be), and hopefully some kind soul will empathize with my plight and aid me in this hour of need (I hope that's not too corny...).



* My 'technical editing' stint was YEARS ago so I unconditionally accept all blame for all errors in whatever I write.

** People may wonder why I don't want to learn how to write Javascript code: I think about everything which can be done with Javascript has pretty well been done. JAVA, from what I've seen, appears like a whole new world of endeavor is possible...

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That is alot of text for a simple question. The answer is go to Suns website, specifically here:

On the right hand side you will see Get JDK 5.0, not surprisingly this is where to download the latest JDK.

In the center and down a bit, you will see links to tutorials, follow that and read the instructions on setting it up(step 2).

Do not download the netbeans JDK as you will not need it for a long while, if ever. It will just get in your way.
[ April 30, 2006: Message edited by: Rusty Shackleford ]
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Welcome to JavaRanch!

I had never heard of JGrasp, but I looked briefly at their site, and it does not look like anything you will need as a beginner. In general, I recommend that you avoid any type of IDE (Integrated Development Environment), including the NetBeans that came bundled with your download.

First, I'm assuming that you are using Windows, right?

There is only one Windows download option for the Java 1.5 NetBeans bundle, and I believe it's an online installation -- meaning that you would need to be connected to the internet when installing. This would explain why you're having troubles. But don't panic, because you don't need NetBeans anyway.

Instead, on Sun's Java 1.5 download page, select the link for "Download JDK 5.0 Update 6" (which is below the NetBeans Bundle option). This will take you to a page with a choice of a "Windows Offline Installation" or a "Windows Online Installation." You want the Offline installation (59.86 MB).

While you're connected to the internet, print these Windows installation instructions to use later. The only "tricky" part of the installation is setting the PATH variable (step 5 of the instructions). Be sure to follow this carefully.

To verify the version of Java that you have installed (assuming a Windows machine), open the Windows Command Prompt. If I remember correctly, this is under Start > Programs > Accessories > Windows Command Prompt. At the C:\> prompt, type:

java -version

...and press return. You should get something like...

java version "1.5.0_06"
Java(TM) 2 Runtime Environment, Standard Edition (build 1.5.0_06-112)
Java HotSpot(TM) Client VM (build 1.5.0_06-64, mixed mode, sharing)

I hope this helps. Keep us posted!
[ April 29, 2006: Message edited by: marc weber ]
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