How to get started developing in Java


You can type your source code into any text editor such as Texpad for Windows or TextEdit for Mac.  Yet in order to convert your Java source code into a program that your computer can understand, you need a Java compiler.  Obtaining a Java compiler is easy and free (although the installation can sometimes be a bit of a pain).  You will need to download the Java Developer’s Kit (JDK) from Sun.  The JDK contains a Java compiler plus all of the libraries of code that are now part of the Java standard.  We will discuss libraries in lecture. 


What is the JDK?

The JDK is a package that includes (among other things) the Java compiler, JVM (Java Virtual Machine), an applet viewer, a debugging tool, and the standard Java class libraries.  If you do not wish to develop Java programs, but only to run them, you do not need the JDK since you probably already have a copy of the JVM running on your machine.  (For example, the JVM is installed along with all the major browsers and some operating systems). 


Where can I get the JDK, and which version should I use?

Mac users can ignore this step as the JDK is already installed.  There is a fair amount of confusion out there over what tools exactly are needed to develop in Java.  For our purposes, you only need the JDK.  To get it, you can go directly to .   Be sure to download the SE (standard edition). You do not need any of the special editions such as FX or EE.

Which development environment should I use?

A development environment typically includes a compiler and souped-up text editor to make your coding tasks easier.  There are a number of different programming environments available for you to use in developing your Java programs.  The one I have decided to use for CSC-211 is TextPad ( 

What is TextPad?

TextPad is a simple but powerful text editor.  It has lots of useful functionality and can be used to write code in anything from Java to C++ to HTML.  To code in Java, it is best to first install the Java SDK (standard development kit), and then install TextPad.  I will discuss this further during the first lecture. 


Mac Users

Please see the link under the Resources page for some additional assistance.


One More Suggestion

For this course, your life will be much easier if you put the following things in the same directory.  So for example, create a directory on your computer called ‘Java’ or ‘211’ or something similar.  Then store all of the following inside: