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Help with building workspaces please!

 
Greenhorn
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Hi all,
I've done courses in java and I use java as part of my job. Unfortunately no course I've done and no book I've read (Head First Java 5 and SCJP 6.0) prepare me or inform on how to build a workspace!!! It literally takes me days of pure trial and error and I am no closer to understanding why it works at the end compared to why it didn't at the beginning, than I was a year ago!
In short, I use RAD7 and there's always problems with building etc. Does anyone know of any course or book that gives an in depth tutorial on how you build a workspace?
Part of the problem is that the courses and books I've done all revolve around the syntax of the language, but I have no idea what I should learn or read about on how to get an Enterprise application to work properly. Ant builds, build paths, manifest files, project facets, .settings files, .project files etc. It's all double dutch and I'm expected to know this stuff with it never being covered at any point.
I can't tell you how much any information you offer would be welcome!
Cheers,
Dave
 
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First, I think you've got "workspaces" and "projects" confused. A Workspace is a container for projects (although the source files for the project don't actually have to be in the workspace directory, and I've got projects that don't). A workspace is created pretty much automatically, either when you start Eclipse and there is no prior workspace, or when you tell Eclipse to create a new workspace.

Projects are another matter. Usually, it's best to pick a wizard. If you have an existing non-eclipse project, pick a wizard, create a project whose name is exactly the same as the existing non-eclipse project's directory and import the directory. That will help a lot.

Changing from say, a generic project to a Java project is a royal pain. About the easiest way to do it is to steal config info from a Java project's .project file and mod the generic project's .project file accordingly. Faceted projects likewise. Ideally someday, facets will be an inherent part of ALL projects, and you'll be able to change the nature of the project just by adding facets.

Just to make things more complex, the project builders are fairly simplistic. When you have a complex project, you may want to pair it with Maven, Ant, or other build tools. There are things that can help such as the Maven plugin, but for the most part, you have to explicitly fire off Maven and Ant builds - the Eclipse project builder tends to limit itself to recompiling code and things like that.
 
Dave McQueen
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Tim, thanks for your response. I don't understand most of what you say unfortunately but appreciate the effort.

I appreciate the distinction between workspace and projects. It's going to come in useful when searching for what I should learn.

All of our projects are created and held in RAD7 and Clearcase. However when importing an existing project and getting it to read from databases and setting up Websphere 6.1 etc all of this is what confuses me.

Here's an example: I need to add existing projects to the modules in the application.xml file. (Bear in mind that to learn THAT i have to do this took weeks. Literally weeks, simply because I've got no idea what WHY I have to do this: I have no idea what this does and what it fixes. All I know is that it's something I have to do because it helps make the application work. Incidentally there's no point explaining, it will merely raise other questions and concepts that I need answers to that by the time I get to the end of the trail and get to somewhere I understand, I'll have forgotten where the trail begun!)
Now for some reason I can't add them. I now know that this is because the .settings file was deleted so I had to add new project facets.
This solution can be arrived at in two ways:
1. By knowing what this whole modules things is and means and why you have it and what it does etc and using this information to figure out why you can't add the projects.
OR
2. Because you have no idea what all this refers to, you delete things, add things, click things, look up the internet, perhaps you close your left eye, perhaps you whistle the national anthem and suddenly, it WORKS!

The first way is the best way. What I need to know is, how can I learn these kind of things that I need to be able to troubleshoot problems like above, without having to go through weeks and weeks of literally mindless and uninformed pointing, clicking, deleting and pasting until somehow, through pure chance, I eventually find a solution? Please don't suggest trial and error. There has to be a discipline, subject, tutorial, subject I can read about that will get me up to speed on this quicker than trial an d error.
 
Author
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IntelliJ IDE Ruby
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There's no way to learn, generically, what is inherently project-specific.

If you're *mindlessly* pointing, clicking, deleting, and pasting, eventually finding a solution by pure chance, then you're doing it wrong. Take the time to figure out *why* what you did worked. Large-scale projects (and even medium-scale projects) often have a lot of transitive dependencies, and not necessarily only with required libraries.

The JEE tutorials cover what's needed for a *generic* JEE app to work--but in the real world there are often more moving parts, due to company, project, library, environment, etc. differences. Understanding the nature of JEE projects takes time, understand the specificities of *your* projects takes yet more time.
 
Dave McQueen
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David Newton wrote:If you're *mindlessly* pointing, clicking, deleting, and pasting, eventually finding a solution by pure chance, then you're doing it wrong. Take the time to figure out *why* what you did worked



Cheers for your response David. You're right I am doing it wrong: That's why I'm here looking for help. But the "taking the time to figure out why it worked" solution is not this solution, it's this problem: Trying to figure out why it worked has gotten me to post this question in the first place, as I can't figure out why it worked. Unfortunately you're being too generous in estimating how much knowledge and experience I have to draw upon to be able to figure this out. Hence the reason I'm looking for tutorials/courses etc.
Thanks for the info on the JEE tutorials. Looks like that's a good place to start.
 
David Newton
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What I'm saying is that *we* can't really help you understand why what you did worked (for the obvious reasons), and that in general, that kind of stuff is so project-specific anyway that most attempts would fail unless we were pair-programming and explaining as we went. Even something as deceptively straight-forward as "getting it to read from the database" has quite a few moving parts, even ignoring the project-specific stuff.

I'd still maintain that the only way to learn most of this stuff, in particular the project-specific stuff, is to just keep doing it, reading about it, and making liberal use of GOP (Google-Oriented Programming). If there are *specific* questions, in many cases you can find answers here. More general questions are difficult to answer.

Nobody understands RAD7 anyway.
 
Dave McQueen
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David, thanks once again for your response. Often in getting an answer to a problem you realise that there is no problem: It seems that confusion for RAD7 is the norm, not the exception. At the very least I feel better that I'm not missing the obvious.
Cheers!
 
David Newton
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RAD7 is an (expensive) abomination, taking a perfectly good Eclipse and wrapping it in unusability. WebFear is even worse.

(It's not actually *that* bad, but I've found little joy with it. Sorry, IBM, I actually like you guys, but man.)
 
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