Java Essential Training
Illustration by Mark Todd

Choosing a development environment


Java Essential Training

with David Gassner

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Video: Choosing a development environment

One of the first things you should do when you are working with Java is to choose an editor. A product you can use to create your Java source code files and which if it's a completely Integrated Development Environment can also help you build and compile your applications. The truth is, Java source code files are just text files, so you can really use any Text Editor you are comfortable with. If you know how to use older developer editors such as Vi or Emacs or if you are a Windows developer and you love notepad, those will do fine.
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  1. 10m 8s
    1. Welcome
      1m 3s
    2. Is this course for you?
      5m 35s
    3. Using the exercise files
      3m 30s
  2. 31m 25s
    1. The history of Java
      5m 19s
    2. Java compilation and syntax
      8m 55s
    3. Understanding the principles of Java
      8m 28s
    4. Choosing a development environment
      8m 43s
  3. 19m 52s
    1. Installing Java on Windows
      6m 42s
    2. Installing Eclipse on Windows
      3m 19s
    3. Exploring Java on Mac OS X Leopard and Snow Leopard
      2m 27s
    4. Installing Java on Mac OS X Lion
      4m 14s
    5. Installing Eclipse on Mac OS X
      3m 10s
  4. 46m 10s
    1. Creating a Hello World application
      11m 7s
    2. Exploring the Eclipse IDE
      8m 55s
    3. Compiling and running from the command line
      8m 2s
    4. Passing arguments to the application
      8m 17s
    5. Using the Java API documentation
      4m 5s
    6. Memory management and garbage collection
      5m 44s
  5. 58m 57s
    1. Everything is an object
      5m 59s
    2. Declaring and initializing variables
      9m 15s
    3. Working with numbers
      8m 32s
    4. Converting numeric values
      6m 40s
    5. Understanding operators
      7m 58s
    6. Working with character values
      5m 14s
    7. Working with boolean values
      5m 13s
    8. Outputting primitive values as strings
      5m 33s
    9. Creating a simple calculator application
      4m 33s
  6. 53m 41s
    1. Writing conditional code
      5m 35s
    2. Using the switch statement
      8m 50s
    3. Repeating code blocks with loops
      7m 35s
    4. Creating reusable code with methods
      6m 31s
    5. Declaring methods with arguments
      5m 42s
    6. Overloading method names with different signatures
      5m 53s
    7. Passing arguments by reference or by value
      5m 35s
    8. Creating a more complex calculator application
      8m 0s
  7. 20m 31s
    1. Using the String class
      5m 44s
    2. Building strings with StringBuilder
      3m 34s
    3. Parsing string values
      3m 20s
    4. Working with date values
      7m 53s
  8. 20m 44s
    1. Understanding compile-time vs. runtime errors
      4m 5s
    2. Handling exceptions with try/catch
      4m 55s
    3. Throwing exceptions in methods
      2m 50s
    4. Using the debugger
      8m 54s
  9. 32m 22s
    1. Using simple arrays
      4m 47s
    2. Using two-dimensional arrays
      6m 17s
    3. Managing resizable arrays with ArrayList
      7m 14s
    4. Managing unordered data with HashMap
      6m 5s
    5. Looping through collections with iterators
      7m 59s
  10. 52m 3s
    1. Understanding encapsulation
      5m 59s
    2. Creating and instantiating custom classes
      8m 8s
    3. Organizing classes with packages
      6m 47s
    4. Creating and using instance methods
      6m 52s
    5. Storing data in instance variables
      6m 56s
    6. Using constructor methods
      5m 40s
    7. Managing instance data with getter and setter methods
      8m 26s
    8. Using class variables and Enum classes
      3m 15s
  11. 41m 15s
    1. Understanding inheritance and polymorphism
      9m 12s
    2. Extending custom classes
      9m 1s
    3. Overriding superclass methods
      3m 8s
    4. Casting subclass objects
      5m 3s
    5. Understanding interfaces and implementing classes
      4m 2s
    6. Creating your own interfaces
      4m 14s
    7. Using abstract classes and methods
      6m 35s
  12. 32m 17s
    1. Managing files with the core class library
      7m 46s
    2. Managing files with Apache Commons FileUtils
      7m 32s
    3. Reading a text file from a networked resource
      7m 52s
    4. Parsing an XML file with DOM
      9m 7s
  13. 17m 39s
    1. Creating your own JAR files
      4m 54s
    2. Understanding the classpath
      5m 2s
    3. Documenting code with Javadoc
      7m 43s
  14. 47s
    1. Goodbye

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Java Essential Training | Online Video Course from
7h 17m Beginner Dec 14, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Join author David Gassner as he explores Java SE (Standard Edition), the language used to build mobile apps for Android devices, enterprise server applications, and more. This course demonstrates how to install both Java and the Eclipse IDE and dives into the particulars of programming. The course also explains the fundamentals of Java, from creating simple variables, assigning values, and declaring methods to working with strings, arrays, and subclasses; reading and writing to text files; and implementing object oriented programming concepts.

Topics include:
  • Understanding the history and principles of Java
  • Installing Eclipse and Java
  • Compiling and running from the command line
  • Managing memory and performing garbage collection
  • Declaring and initializing variables
  • Writing conditional code
  • Building and parsing strings
  • Debugging and exception handling
  • Using simple arrays
  • Creating custom classes
  • Working with encapsulation, inheritance, and polymorphism
  • Managing files
  • Documenting code with Javadocs
Android Java Eclipse
David Gassner

Choosing a development environment

One of the first things you should do when you are working with Java is to choose an editor. A product you can use to create your Java source code files and which if it's a completely Integrated Development Environment can also help you build and compile your applications. The truth is, Java source code files are just text files, so you can really use any Text Editor you are comfortable with. If you know how to use older developer editors such as Vi or Emacs or if you are a Windows developer and you love notepad, those will do fine.

But there are many Integrated Development Environments or IDEs available for Java developers. One of the first questions you should ask is, which operating system do you want to develop on? Java applications are designed to be write once, run anywhere. So once the application is built you should be able to deploy it on multiple operating systems, but you as a developer probably have your favorite operating system that you like to work on. So perhaps you are looking for an editor that's specifically designed for Mac OS X or maybe you are a Windows developer and you have no plans ever to work on Mac or Linux.

But you will find in the world of Java that many of the best development products out there are cross- platform and work on all operating systems including Windows, Mac, Linux and other variants of UNIX. Another question you should ask is, am I willing to pay a license fee? Many of the best development environments are completely free, including Eclipse and NetBeans, but when you start looking at some of the paid options you might find advanced features that are worthwhile, especially if you are going to be working in a team development environment where you're building very large scale applications.

I think that if you are a new Java developer you'll find that one of the free IDEs does everything you need when you are getting started. And later on when you start building very large scale applications it's worth checking out some of the paid options. Here are some of the options that are available exclusively on Mac OS X. The first one might be a bit surprising, it's Xcode. We know Xcode as the primary development environment for building Mac and iOS applications, Xcode is completely free and available from the Mac App Store and it does have rudimentary Java support.

It's best for small scale projects though. It doesn't have a lot of the capabilities that development environments that are designed for Java have. And also because Apple has been pulling back from support for Java over the last couple of years, for example the latest version of Mac OS X Lion is delivered without a Java runtime environment already installed, we don't know how much support there will be for Java in the future. But if you are already comfortable with Xcode and know how to navigate around it, it's worth checking out.

Other options that are unique to Mac OS X are two products that are related called BBEdit and TextWrangler. These products are both from the same company and they support syntax coloring, function scanning, and other tasks that are common to programmers, editors. Neither of these tools is a specialist IDE for Java, that is, they weren't designed specifically for use with Java, but again if you are already comfortable with these tools and you like products that really take seriously a Mac style interface these are worth looking at.

BBEdit is a commercial product and requires a paid license, while TextWrangler is free. Both products are available from www. and at least TextWrangler is available from the Mac App Store as well. If you are a Windows developer and you have no plans to work ever on Mac or Linux, you can check out some of the light-weight Java development environments that are specifically built for Windows. One of the most popular is called JCreator. There are two editions, one free and one paid, and it has a very similar interface to a Text Editor called TextPad.

It has the same layout of panels, menus, and configuration options, but both of these products are specifically designed for use with Java. JCreator is a very light-weight application, it starts up incredibly quickly compared to products like Eclipse and NetBeans. And both versions JCreator LE and JCreator Pro are available from And speaking of TextPad, you can also use this very popular shareware product to build small scale Java applications.

TextPad has the ability to hook into the JDK commands, such as java and javac the compiler to compile and run small Java applications. It's shareware, not free, but it's pretty inexpensive, and it's available from So that's a look at products that are unique to Mac and Windows. But most of the Java developer community uses cross-platform Java IDEs. The whole idea of Java is portability. The idea that you can build a single application and then run it on multiple platforms without recompiling and being able to do the same thing, move among operating systems and use basically the same IDE is very appealing to Java developers.

So here are two free IDEs that work on Mac, Windows, Linux, and other platforms. NetBeans was originally created by Sun Microsystems and is now owned and offered by Oracle. In addition to Java, NetBeans has editions that support C, C++, and PHP. Some distributions of NetBeans have an included Java Enterprise Edition server. So if your goal is to build Java-based Web applications, NetBeans gives you the ability to get everything you need in a single download and installation.

You can download NetBeans from Eclipse is one of my favorite cross- platform IDEs for Java and is the IDE that I'll be using throughout this course. Eclipse is open source and completely free. It was originally built as a Java Development Environment By IBM, before IBM gave it to the Eclipse Foundation. But now Eclipse is also used for many languages and development environments. For example if your goal is to build Android applications with Java, I highly recommend Eclipse because the Android developer tools from Google are also delivered as an Eclipse plug-in.

So you can take your Eclipse installation for Java, add-in the Android SDK tools and you'll have everything you need in one development environment. You can download all the different distributions of Eclipse from And like NetBeans you'll see that there are distributions available from many operating systems including Windows, Mac, Linux, and so on, and also support for many programming languages. Once you move out of the completely free IDEs, you start getting into a set of products that are really designed for large scale team development.

IntelliJ Idea is the first one. There is a free version known as community and a paid edition known as Ultimate of IntelliJ Idea. IntelliJ Idea has its own support for Android development, and again it's cross-platform like Eclipse and NetBeans, so you can install it for Windows, Mac, or Linux, and you can take a look at it at And finally there is JBuilder. At one time JBuilder was the dominant Java developing environment in the world.

That was in the late 90s though, and since that time with the introduction of Eclipse and NetBeans things have evened out quite a bit. But JBuilder remains a very powerful Integrated Development Environment primarily used by large development teams on large scale enterprise applications. JBuilder was originally created by Borland, and again it was designed for enterprise-level development. You can take a look at JBuilder at

This survey of IDEs for Java gives you a sense of the amount of variety that's out there, and there are many programmers, editors that I haven't mentioned that could work fine for Java development. I encourage you to look at these options and other options you might find on the Web and choose the development environment that's best for you. As you work through this course, I'll encourage you though to use Eclipse, the same IDE that I'll be demonstrating the code with because it will let you follow along and do the exercises using the same look-and-feel as you see on the screen.

And once you get into building your applications though, choose any of these IDEs for your own Java development.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Java Essential Training .

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Q: Can I safely use Java 8 with this tutorial or do I have to be using Java 6 specifically?
A: Yes, you can use Java 8 with this course.
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