Richard's Java Notes, number 0

tamerunSoftware and s/w Development

Aug 15, 2012 (4 years and 10 months ago)


Richard’s Java Notes, number 4

Java IDEs

OK, so what is an IDE?

An Integrated Development Environment is a kind of enhanced editor for Java
programs. Instead of just letting you type your program in and change it, like any
editor such as WordPad, and perh
aps also compiling and running it for you (like
TextPad), an IDE does several more things for you:

You can browse through your files to find the one you want;

There is a way to start new Java files of various types from templates, so you
don’t have to
type in all the stuff that’s the same in every file;

There is “help” information immediately available, so that you can quickly find
out what arguments a particular method needs, or what an error message means;

There is a visual designer so that you can
develop graphical user interfaces on the
screen, dragging and adjusting the various components to suit your plans, using
the mouse;

There is a “debugger” that not only runs Java programs but lets you step through
them one line at a time, watch how the vari
ables and objects change their values,

Choice of an IDE

Four of the most commonly used are Eclipse, NetBeans, JBuilder and the various
Microsoft Visual Studio products, of which Visual J# seems to be the one they’re
promoting at the moment, but they k
eep changing the name every time they get sued,
or have a new marketing drive. .

The Department of Computing at Imperial College has a web page
( listing some Java IDEs, as follows:

“ * AnyJ: free for Linux.

* BlueJ: ‘an integrated Java environment specifically designed for introductory
teaching’, free for non
commercial use.

* NetBeans: a free Java IDE written in Java.

* Source
Navigator: now free, this is Cygnus’s/RedHat's IDE.

* JasmineIDE:
another Java IDE written in Java, probably free.

“There are also some you have to pay for:

* C

* CodeGuide.

* Simplicity: seems to be some kind of dodgy RAD tool rather than an IDE.

* SNiFF+ LinuxLand: Java development tool.

* C
odeWarrior: An IDE for C, C++ and Java ...

“... I think that BlueJ and Source
Navigator are the most promising. A lot of IDEs are
intended for large projects and may be too complex for teaching.”

A longer list of IDEs, with links to some reviews, is at

There is an article comparing different Java IDEs in Linux User magazine, issue 41


NetBeans is available on COMSC Linux workstations, but it can also be downloaded
and installed on Linux, Wi
ndows or Mac OS
X machines.

You can install NetBeans from a CD distributed to COMSC students. You have to
have Java installed already. Insert the CD and navigate to the appropriate directory
(Windows, Linux or OSX). In Windows, double
click on the fil
, which is an installer. Follow the usual software
installation questions.


“Eclipse is the first IDE that I came to like. It has lots of time
saving features, and
only a few annoyances (
the biggest is that you need to create a project whenever you
want to look at a file).”

Cay Horstmann

Other IDEs not discussed in this course


“Learning Java? My favourite environment for exploring Java programs is BlueJ.
ueJ makes you think about objects, not public static void main.”

Cay Horstmann

Converting from Horstmann’s “Big Java” book to use BlueJ:

Notes on operating systems

We are using Windows XP in this cours
e, for reasons of availability in all parts of the
University, but that doesn’t mean I endorse Microsoft products. There are three main
operating systems (with apologies to the vocal bands of enthusiasts for those I haven’t
mentioned). They are MacOS for

Apple Macintoshes, and a real choice for PC users:
Windows has more users but Linux has more supporters.

Here are a couple of quotations from Cay Horstmann, the author of the recommended
Java book:

“I didn’t want to get permission from Bill every tim
e I reinstall Windows. I decided
Windows XP is an evolutionary dead end and got my latest laptop preinstalled with
Linux. At first, it was weird to switch, like moving into a different city and not
knowing where the post office and the dry cleaner are, b
ut after a couple of weeks I
started feeling at home.”

“Do you only need occasional access to Microsoft Office, for example, to read
attachments that others send you? You can save both money and disk space by using
OpenOffice, a free open
source office
program sponsored by Sun Microsystems.
There are two added benefits. You will be immune to Microsoft macro viruses. And
OpenOffice has no animated paperclip. OpenOffice runs on Windows, Linux,
Solaris, and Mac OS X. The Microsoft Office compatibility i
sn’t completely
“seamless”, but I found it entirely adequate. The clincher is that OpenOffice 1.1 has a
nifty “Save as PDF” feature.”