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List Archive: gentoo-java
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To: gentoo-java@g.o
From: Ted Kosan <tkosan@...>
Subject: Re: Startup advice
Date: Thu, 26 Jan 2006 10:04:21 -0800 (PST)
Stuart wrote:

> I am a Gentoo user with an urge to try my hand at coding, java seems
> to fit the bill as a language that has cross platform appeal and so
> on, you guys know the rest.
> My question is this, I want to spend my time learning the language not
> the various apps that allow me to do this so what would your
> recommendation be for a new starter such as myself.

Here is an online course that I put together a few years ago to help Java
beginners get started with Java.  You might find it helpful:

It does not include directions specific to working with Java on Gentoo, but
after JDK5.0 has stabalized I might add this information.

> I seem to have a choice of using either blackdown or the sun packages,
> I have read sufficient to realise that the blackdown project was the
> original linux port of Sun's Java but Today what would you suggest as
> the platform to pick ie. is the Blackdown package well supported under
> Gentoo? will updates come promptly when considered stable? or the the
> Sun package better supported? and for that matter as a new user would
> I be better of with one or the other for a reason I have not yet come
> too?

I agree with another poster that eventually you will want to focus your efforts
on J2SE 5.0 but for people just learning Java you should be fine learning the
fundamentals on J2SE 1.4.

> Next up would be an IDE, is Kdevelop good for java or is netbeans a
> good choice? again your experiance would be helpful at this stage, the
> netbeans site seems to imply that they provide functinality not
> available elsewhere will this mean that my code [once I get there ;) ]
> be specific to netbeans? or should I go for a fundamentalist approach
> and stick to "simple" approach and trusty vim?

This is where my opionin will usually differ with most people.  My
recommendation is that Java beginners should start with a Java editor and do
all of thier development from the command line. The reason for this is that I
think people do not truly understand how Java works until they understand how
Java's runtime environemnt works at the commmand line level.

I learned this lesson the hard way.  I teach Java at the University level and
when I first started teaching Java I had the students use the JDK and a command
line.  Even though it was more difficult than using an IDE, it worked fairly
well and most of these students eventually mastered Java.

In later Java intro classes I decided to make things easier by switching to an
IDE.  The classes were a bit easier but in the more advanced Java classes I
found that these students did not understand critical things about how the
lower levels of Java work because the IDE shielded them from this information.

As soon as I discovered this mistake I immediately switched back to starting
beginners with a Java editor and the command line :-)

As for which editor to use, I recommend using a Java-based editor instead of
something like nano or vim because one is able to pick up a lot of Java-related
information indirectly by using an editor that is written in Java.  The Java
editor that I recommend is JEdit.

Hope this helps :-)

gentoo-java@g.o mailing list

Re: Startup advice
-- Greg Tassone
Startup advice
-- Stuart Howard
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