Friday, January 25, 2008

Getting started with Java

Ever since our Rajabazar Science College campus has got a Sun Campus Unit, people have started to ask me questions about Java. The most common query seems to be "how to get started with java?". The main problem is with the Campus Unit, which is talking a lot about Java, but failed to provide this very basic information. So I decided to write a "getting started" guide here and refer people to it.

To get started with development in Java in the Windows platform one needs the following programs. All the 3 programs are free for use. You do not need to pay anyone anything for them. Any standard Windows XP PC with more than 256 MB RAM can support all these softwares.

Java Development Kit (JDK)

This kit comprises of the Java compiler "javac" and numerous other tools which are required for Java development. The current version is jdk v1.6 update 4. You can download it directly from here (71.2 MB exe).

Integrated Development Environment (IDE)

While it is possible to write java programs in any text editor, it is advisable to use an IDE as it provides an one stop solution for most of the development tasks. There are many IDEs for Java, but I would recommend :

BlueJ : It is a very simple IDE, suitable for first time java programmers, who would like to try out java programs, rather than write a full length software. This is a very lightweight application and offers the support to compile single .java programs without having to create a project. However, some of the advanced features needed for a software development project are missing. The current version is BlueJ v2.2.1 (3.6 MB exe).

NetBeans : This is a professional quality IDE with all the advanced features that are needed for a large scale software project. However, I feel that for beginners this can be quite a complicated piece of software. You can download the NetBeans 6 basic version (21.5 MB exe).

Installation instructions

  1. Install the JDK first.
  2. Reboot your computer.
  3. Install one or both the IDEs as per your requirement.
  4. Start programming in Java. :)

If you need any further help, post a query here, I will try to answer it to the best of my capabilities.

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