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I teach some beginners the fundamentals of Java these days and they need to see the output for their small programs such as Hello world, etc. I need basic editor that contains code highlighting and contains the compiler with it so they can quickly run and see the result of their programs.

What would you recommend?

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closed as not constructive by Robert Harvey, Walter, ChrisF Feb 28 '12 at 18:45

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NetBeans is probably your best bet. –  Robert Harvey Feb 27 '12 at 22:26
@ Robert: Do they need to install anything after installing Netbeans? For example Java compiler? –  Naif Feb 27 '12 at 22:28
Well, you'll need the Java SDK. –  Jack Maney Feb 27 '12 at 22:36
Eclipse with the Java SDK. That's really all you need. –  Dynamic Feb 27 '12 at 23:10
Eclipse doesn't even need a JDK - it includes it's own compiler. –  mikera Feb 28 '12 at 1:11

8 Answers 8

BlueJ and Greenfoot are expressly designed for beginning students. I can't vouch for them because I have not used them, but I suspect that these will be less confusing for novices than "turning on" eclipse, netbeans or intelli-j.

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My university introduced students to programming via BlueJ. It was certainly helpful at a time when I found Eclipse baffling. –  Stoive Feb 28 '12 at 0:27
It appears that the Greenfoot team developed BlueJ. –  Jay Elston Feb 28 '12 at 0:52
Upvoted because of BLueJ, BlueJ indeed are for beginners it will help them learn the language easily –  user962206 Feb 28 '12 at 1:30
I would also suggest BlueJ –  Jakob Weisblat Feb 28 '12 at 4:55
I concur with BlueJ, that's how I was taught. It creates class diagrams with your projects so that's a plus! (Although, at the time I didn't know what class diagrams were, but they were still helpful) –  Malfist Feb 28 '12 at 13:26

I'd probably just go with Eclipse or Netbeans.

They are both clearly fully-fledged IDEs but it's pretty easy to install and start coding right away. Eclipse at least includes it's own complete compiler so you don't even need a JDK.

And your students will thank you later when they either get to appreciate all the more advanced features, or go into industry and find they already know the most widely used tools....

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For college students and up, this is probably the best route. But for younger students, I can see the value in using a simpler IDE. Eclipse is very powerful, but this power comes at the cost of complexity. Younger students could get lost in the interface while not being able to tap into Eclipse's advanced features/customizations or makes use of its extensibility. It's like handing someone a Swiss army knife when they just need a toothpick. It could cause unnecessary headaches for both student and instructor. –  Lèse majesté Feb 28 '12 at 4:53

If you want a gentle introduction to programming, consider starting with Alice. It is Java-based, and the IDE makes it easy to develop and run simple programs free of syntax errors.

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I would steer clear of IDEs altogether, they're useful for big projects, but by the time they understand how to get a project started your course will be over.

Start with a text editor, and help them understand what the IDE does for them in the background.

I enjoy Sublime, it has code-folding, and highlighting, and has an internal console (which is great for quick output).

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Give them Eclipse, with this tutorial, and they will be off and running. Also, when teaching, it would likely be very helpful if you also used whatever it is you choose to recommend.

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I World suggest looking at the combination of a good editor and javac, and simply teach Them how to edit-compile-run.

Then you just need a syntax-aware editor. Plenty of these exist. Vim is Nice for one

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I recommend Notepad only for beginners.

There is high probability to make errors,because of which beginners will learn so many new things .

If we save program with different name,it leads to NoClassDefFoundError at runtime.with the help of Editors,Editors by default create File name with class name because of which there is no chance of NoClassDefFoundError.

of course there is no code highlighting.

for code highlighting eclipse is good.

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What new things will beginners learn from making syntax errors (besides the need to use a proper editor with at least code highlighting and brace matching)? –  Lèse majesté Feb 28 '12 at 4:56
@lesemajeste in notepad sometimes we save the program with different name which causes NoClassDefFoundError at runtime.with editors you may not see such errors happening.of course there is no code highlighting –  Balaswamy vaddeman Feb 28 '12 at 5:22

I would recommend TextPad. It is simple, lightweight, has Code Highlighting and a very basic UI... You could problably also use Notepad++ which also has Code Highlighting, and basic UI.

I agree with salmonmoose, you should not use an IDE like Eclipse or NetBeans

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