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I'm starting a 12 week Java course next month through my local junior college. I'm starting from square 1. I have a basic understanding of OO and Java will be my first OO language. My Google-Fu returns way too much and I can't tell which is good, bad, etc.

As far as learning the language, is it best to use a plain editor, I use JEdit currently, or an IDE like Eclipse or Netbeans? I don't have experience with either IDE. Is there other IDEs I should consider?

My project goals are:

  • GUI programs to control different radios and test equipment, which means I/O via USB, sound card, and networking across *NIX, Windows, and Mac OS.

  • Programming for Android devices, both phone and tablets. Database backed apps for logging data. Quite possibly accessing radio/test gear over WiFi.

  • JBoss environment.

How should I setup a testing environment for different platforms?

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closed as off-topic by Ixrec, GlenH7, durron597, Snowman, gnat May 23 '15 at 5:49

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

OK, here's my suggestions:

Get an IDE - in practice, most Java developers use an IDE nowadays and it will help you considerably with things like syntax checking, testing and debugging. I personally use the "Eclipse IDE for Java developers" which has served me very well. You can download Eclipse here. I also hear good things about Netbeans and IntelliJ - I don't think you could go wrong with any of these. Make sure you can create an run a simple "Hello World" application from scratch in your chosen IDE.

Do the Java tutorials - these are great tutorials that take you through many of the basics. I'd honestly recommend doing all of these (and learning how best to use your chosen IDE as you go along).

Pick an area to focus on. Even after you've mastered all the basics, you can't expect to become a expert at every advanced topic all at once. You might, for example, decide to focus on learning Android first. You'll be writing Java as before, but many of the APIs and tools are Android specific and you will need to learn them. Make sure that you actually build things that work - it's the best way to learn how to code in any language.

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You should learn how to run from console and plain-text editor for getting started, Once you understand packages/imports, how to run, building using console (Command line).

Then you can pickup Netbeans/Eclipse, based on your choice. I suggest you use Eclipse first, after that you can try Netbeans, and use whichever you find suitable to you.

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