Tag Archives: IDE

Preparing the development environment for Java – Windows and Ubuntu

Unlike .NET development where everything is streamlined and well-aligned, starting from the OS, the framework, the tools, the IDE and all others being written by one company, in Java development you’ll experience “freedom”(1) of choice. I’ll start with a gentle introduction which the experienced may very well skip to avoid getting bored.

In order to get started developing in Java we’ll need the following :

  1. An OS. I’ll showcase Windows and Ubuntu (Linux).
  2. A Java JRE. This is the most basic component required to run Java programs.
  3. A Java JDK. The JDK or Java SDK (IBM calls it that way) typically includes the JRE plus a compiler, tools for running various types of Java programs, packaging tools, extra class libraries and many more.
  4. An IDEIntegrated Development Environment. This is typically an MDI (Multi-Document Interface) application which provides certain convenience features for the developer :
    • Syntax highlighting – keywords are displayed in a certain color, local variables in another etc.
    • Code completion – instead of having to type the whole keyword, or class identifier, a member and so on, an autocompletion prompt will appear (usually triggered by the user typing a dot or other notable event) easing your typing and avoiding typos.
    • Interactive debugging – Allowing the user to control the execution of the program by inserting breakpoints, stepping over, into or out of code, watching expressions (variables, fields etc.), modifying internal data or even (very few IDEs allow) stepping back.
    • Tracing – in case you need to inspect internal data but breaking into the debugger cancels the bug or triggers other unwanted condition or the data changes too fast, you can watch expressions in a specially designed tool window without interrupting the flow of the debugged program
    • Source control integration – allows the user to send/push/checkin/etc changes to file(s) into a repository, obtaining the latest version, comparing versions, merging, branching and many more operations
    • Visual designers – For UI modules or elements most IDEs offer some kind of preview of the developed interface, showing the developer pretty much how things will look and behave without needing to recompile, run and browsing to that particular interface
    • Packaging and deployment – Features for creating a package of the application, be it JAR, WAR, DLL, ZIP, APK etc. Furthermore many IDEs will help you push a site to a webhosting provider, cloud service and so on.
    • .. and a whole lot more but let’s try to keep things shorter

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