This article introduces you to the Java programming language. The first of two parts, it is excerpted from chapter one of Sams Teach Yourself Java 2 in 21 Days, 4th Edition, written by Rogers Cadenhead and Laura Lemay (Sams; ISBN: 0672326280).
Getting Started with Java - Selecting a Development Tool (Page 3 of 6 )
Now that you've been introduced to Java as a spectator, it's time to put some of these concepts into play and create your first Java program.
If you work your way through the 21 days of this book, you'll become well versed in Java's capabilities, including graphics, file input and output, user-interface design, Web application development, XML processing, and database connectivity. You will write programs that run on Web pages and others that run on your personal computer, Web servers, and other computing environments.
Before you can get started, you must have software on your computer that can be used to edit, compile, and run Java programs that use the most up-to-date version of the language: Java 2 version 1.5.
Several popular integrated development environments for Java support version 1.5, including Borland JBuilder, Sun NetBeans, IntelliJ IDEA, and IBM VisualAge for Java.
These are each recommended by Java developers, but if you are learning to use these tools at the same time as you are learning Java, it can be a daunting task. Most integrated development environments are aimed primarily at experienced programmers who want to be more productive, not new people who are taking their first foray into a new language.
For this reason, unless you are comfortable with a development tool before picking up this book, you should probably use the simplest tool for Java development: the Java 2 Software Development Kit, which is free and can be downloaded from Sun's Java Web site at http://java.sun.com.
The Software Development Kit
Whenever Sun releases a new version of Java, it also makes a free development kit available over the Web to support that version. The current release is the Java 2 Software Development Kit, Standard Edition, Version 1.5.
Although the authors of a book like this have no business poking fun at long-winded titles, Sun has given its most popular Java development tool a name that's longer than most celebrity marriages.
For the sake of a few trees, in this book the language will usually be referred to simply as Java and the kit as SDK 1.5. You might see the kit referred to elsewhere as Java Development Kit 1.5.
If you will be using the Software Development Kit to create the tutorial programs in this book, you can find out how to get started with the software in Appendix B, "Using the Java 2 Software Development Kit." The appendix covers how to download and install the kit and use it to create a sample Java program.
After you have a Java development tool on your computer that supports Java 2 version 1.5, you're ready to dive into the language.