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J Steven Perry | Published September 14, 2016
This unit is part of the Intro to Java programming learning path. Although the concepts discussed in the individual units are standalone in nature, the hands-on component builds as you progress through the units, and we recommend that you review the prerequisites, setup, and unit details before proceeding.
The JDK includes a set of command-line tools for compiling and running your Java code, including a complete copy of the JRE. Although you can use these tools to develop your applications, an IDE gives you additional functionality along with task management and a visual interface.
In this learning path you use Eclipse, a popular open source IDE. Eclipse handles basic tasks, such as code compilation and debugging, so that you can focus on writing and testing code. In addition, you can use Eclipse to organize source code files into projects, compile and test those projects, and store project files in any number of source repositories. You need an installed JDK to use Eclipse for Java development.
Follow these steps to download and install the JDK:
See JDK 8 and JRE 8 Installation for more information, including instructions for installing on Solaris or Linux.
You now have a Java environment on your computer. Next, you’ll install the Eclipse IDE and create a Java project in Eclipse
Follow along with this video demo to download and install Eclipse on your system, take a quick Eclipse tour, and create a Java project.
The Eclipse development environment has four main components:
The primary unit of organization in Eclipse is the workspace. A workspace contains all of your projects. A perspective is a way of looking at each project (hence the name), and within a perspective are one or more views.
Figure 1 shows the Java perspective, which is the default perspective for Eclipse. You see this perspective when you start Eclipse.
The Java perspective contains the tools that you need to begin writing Java applications. Each tabbed window shown in Figure 1 is a view for the Java perspective. Package Explorer and Outline are two particularly useful views.
The Eclipse environment is highly configurable. Each view is dockable, so you can move it around in the Java perspective and place it where you want it. For now, though, stick with the default perspective and view setup.
You’ve now created a new Eclipse Java project and source folder. Your development environment is ready for action. However, an understanding of the OOP paradigm — covered in the next unit — is essential before you start coding in Java.
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