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					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 perhaps 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 variables and objects change their values,
    etc.

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 keep 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
(http://www.doc.ic.ac.uk/csg/faqs/java.html) 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-Forge.
  * CodeGuide.
  * Simplicity: seems to be some kind of dodgy RAD tool rather than an IDE.
  * SNiFF+ LinuxLand: Java development tool.
  * CodeWarrior: 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
http://www.dcs.ed.ac.uk/home/java/about-IDE.html!
There is an article comparing different Java IDEs in Linux User magazine, issue 41
(2004).

NetBeans
NetBeans is available on COMSC Linux workstations, but it can also be downloaded
and installed on Linux, Windows 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 file NetBeansIDE-
release351-win32.exe, which is an installer. Follow the usual software
installation questions.

Eclipse
http://www.eclipse.org/
“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
BlueJ
http://www.bluej.org/
“Learning Java? My favourite environment for exploring Java programs is BlueJ.
BlueJ makes you think about objects, not public static void main.” – Cay Horstmann
Converting from Horstmann‟s “Big Java” book to use BlueJ:
http://www.horstmann.com/ccj2/help/bluej.html




Notes on operating systems
We are using Windows XP in this course, 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 time 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, but 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 isn‟t completely
“seamless”, but I found it entirely adequate. The clincher is that OpenOffice 1.1 has a
nifty “Save as PDF” feature.”

				
Paramban Nuhman Paramban Nuhman http://webudirectory.com
About I am an engineering graduate