IDE

All posts tagged IDE

Two weeks ago I discussed a thought exercise that will help you get in the right frame of mind for doing some computer programming.

Today, I want to help you get an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) set up, so you can follow along with my examples in the coming articles.

The Language: Java

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The programming language of choice is Java. Java has several advantages for us than other languages:

  • Java has fantastic documentation.  Sun / Oracle, who controls the Java Language, has a large library of documentation on functions, interfaces and other important bits.  There are also loads of tutorials.
  • Java is Object Oriented.  This means that all of our Java code has to do with things, rather than more abstract ideas like memory locations, pointers and other stuff that makes my head hurt.
  • Java is platform independent.  This is the biggest reason for Java’s success.  You write code once, and you can run it anywhere: Mac, Windows, or Linux.  I’ll go into more detail on this later.
  • Java is everywhere, primarily due to the points above.

So, we’re using Java because it’s the biggest thing in programming right now, it’s very approachable, and it won’t matter what computer you’re using to follow along, the code is identical for everyone.

The IDE: Eclipse

eclipseSo, here’s what you want to download: Eclipse.  Eclipse is an IDE, and the package I’ve linked to includes the packages for working with Java and using GIT to keep backups of your code.  GIT is also how I’ll be giving you sample code, via GitHub.com.  Don’t worry, you don’t have to make a GitHub account to access my code, but you will need one to upload code if you ever want to send me your code.

 Here’s why I like Eclipse:

  • Real-time compliation level errors:  Normally when you write code and you typo a variable or function name, mismatch some curly brackets ({}), or whatnot, you don’t find out until you attempt to compile your code.  Eclipse examines your code as you type, and gives you error and warning flags when you type variables you haven’t declared or mistype function names.  This is a huge time saver.
  • Eclipse integrates Git, so you can keep remote backups of your code up to date with just a few clicks of your mouse.
  • Eclipse has support for several programming languages, so if you ever want to branch out from Java, you don’t have to learn a new IDE along with a new language.

Homework

  1. Download Eclipse and install it.
  2. Bookmark the Java 7 API Reference, Java SE Tutorials, and GitHub.
  3. Comment here with ideas for what sort of program we should make
  4. OPTIONAL: Make a GitHub account, and post your username.