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Best Setup for Learning Java Development?  RSS feed

 
Sterling Crapser
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I work for a company that is migrating all applications over to Java. I currently work with PowerBuilder. I have read "Heads Up Java" and taken two of those concentrated 5 day seminars for Java "training". I used Eclipse in the seminars and my company is set up with Weblogic Enterprise with Oracle as the database. The company is fairly large and also uses a mainframe (Omni) for a large part of data activity.

I'm trying to figure out what would be the best setup on my home PC so I can practice and be able to emulate some of the infrastructure I would be encountering at work. The company is not focused on training it seems. The only training I receive from the company are the 5 day seminars which are a waste of money in my experience. Too much information is presented in such a short time nothing really sinks in. They would be better suited as some form of overview or refresher course if anything.

I'm assuming there is a popular standard for self-study in terms of giving you the ability to work with the most common components involved with Java development. Can anyone give me some suggestions or point me in the right direction?

Thanks
 
Jesper de Jong
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Here on the Ranch we often recommend people to start simple, if you're completely new to Java: download and install the JDK from Oracle and a good, simple text editor (Notepad++ is my favorite), and use that to write your Java sourcode, and use the command prompt window to compile your first programs.

That way, you can concentrate on learning the Java programming language. If you straight away start with an IDE like Eclipse, you'll also have to learn how the IDE works at the same time; you'll have a hard time if you have to learn too much at once. Don't try to learn Java, Eclipse, Weblogic and Oracle database all at once.

Oracle has a good set of tutorials for Java, ranging from absolute beginner to more advanced concepts.
 
Winston Gutkowski
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Jesper de Jong wrote:Don't try to learn Java, Eclipse, Weblogic and Oracle database all at once.

While I totally agree with what Jesper has said, there is one thing that's probably worth mentioning:

Eclipse and Weblogic are not the same thing (Eclipse is much closer to IBM WebSphere...all these darn 'Web' names make things very confusing), so when you're actually ready to install a development environment - and I'd give it at least two months before you do, maybe longer - you may want to install Weblogic, since that's what you're going to be using at work. From what I understand, standalone licenses are free since 2012.

Winston
 
Sterling Crapser
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Thanks for the feedback. Here's my challenge....

I've been supporting PowerBuilder in-house apps at my company for 12 years. Some of the apps were built using no inheritance, some using Powertools (which is long since defunct) and some using PFC. I never "built" an application from scratch but rather modified or fixed existing applications. For years the company dragged its feet on when PB developers would get the chance to transition over to Java. And the company told us we should not worry as we would be trained to work with Java. Meanwhile, the company hired a lot of experienced Java developers to get things rolling. Now they have their infrastructure set up, implemented things like code review, protocols and the like. But the standards the "Internet team" have set up are not being enforced other than the code review. They are very reluctant to open up to the rest of us.

At this point the company sent me to an introductory 5 day class over two years ago. But never gave me any assignments and instead had me working on other major PB projects that were a priority. Now that things are really starting to move towards Java completely, they want me to start producing code (immediately). I understand programming from the PB perspective. My experience right now with Java is an understanding of very basic stuff (data types, writing simple methods, an intro to the class libraries, etc.). I have no experience with Eclipse outside working with it in the class and no experience with Weblogic at all. They are currently setting up my workstation with Weblogic 11G and will be giving me the details of an assignment sometime within the next week.

Last week they sent me to another 4 day class at LearningCenter which covered stuff I will not use for at least a year or more if at all. It was actually an advanced class! Most of it went over my head. Sadly, I think this is the "training" they mentioned over the years.

I don't think they understand what learning a programming language entails...even for someone with experience using another tool like PowerBuilder. They have set me up with a couple people to use as a reference but these people tell me different things about the same subject when I ask questions so I don't know who to trust as being accurate. For me this whole thing is bizarre. Is what I'm describing normal in the industry?

I think my only recourse is to cross my fingers and hope whatever assignments I get will have similar existing code somewhere that I can use as a guide until I get on my feet. But I have no confidence in being able to produce quickly at this point.
 
Ashish Dutt
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Reading your challenge reminded me of a self-made quote , "there is no spoon-feeding in technology".
Were you expecting your company officials to come by your desk and whisper in your ear, "Sterling, we are heading towards Java, so saddle up and gallop with us else you will be left behind". My friend, the learning you have to do, companies can only give you the pointers.
What you are experiencing numerous like you face the same. Perhaps, the best recourse is that its never to late to start afresh something new. You have the experience and talent of the older technologies, grab a good book, write lots of code and since you are already expert in the art of software re-engineering try to mould/craft the legacy code into Java. Any problems that you might encounter while converting that code, you can post it here but do bear in mind the software proprietary issue's too.
This is the best forum that i know of that have scores of experts in.
 
Sterling Crapser
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Well it's encouraging to hear I'm not the Lone Ranger. I have my work cut out for me.

Thanks
 
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