Setting Up

What is Java?

Java is an object oriented (OO) programming language designed and created by Sun Microsystems Inc. It is a very useful language when it comes to programming applications, designer software, drivers and hardware, and even whole new specialized computer systems such as ATMs or parking meters. In fact, around 97% of digital machines either run on Java, or use Java in one way or another. Java is a useful language because it contains some neat features that other programming languages would not have. It is one of the most complex languages around with bottomless features, but don’t let that mislead you! It is complex because it contains a plethora of aspects and features that make your life as a programmer easier. These tutorials explain in-depth about those specific features.


In order to start grasping the fundamentals of Java, you first must learn about the basic structure and theory behind computer programming. For example you must know how to create loops, conditional statements, types of variables, and methods. So make sure to check out the lessons on the web and basic programming in the Lessons section. A lesson would be dedicated to show you the syntax for those items in Java.

Also, be warned that these tutorials use quite a bit of jargon, but there should be fair explanation for each new term.

Download required software

Before you can even start learning Java, you must first install it on your computer (if you do not have it installed already). You need two main programs before you download and install Eclipse. You need the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) and the Java Development Kit (JDK). You can download the JRE from here and the JDK from here. The JDK is not needed, but it is recommended. When you have finished downloading these items, install them on your computer by locating them, and launching them. There should be an easy step-by-step guide on how to install the JRE and JDK on your computer. Note: Install the JRE before the JDK. If you already have both on your computer, then skip this step. If you have one of these programs, and not the other, then simply download and install the other program.

When you have done installing the JRE and JDK, then you need to install your Intergrated Development Environment (IDE) which is Eclipse so you can start writing Java applications! Download Eclipse from here. Select the standard option, and download it. It will download a rather large .zip file. When it has finished downloading, extract the .zip file and place the folder to your desired location. Open up the folder and you will find an .exe file called eclipse.exe, this is how you launch Eclipse. You can create a shortcut on your desktop or toolbar if you like. If you somehow cannot get Eclipse on your computer, then try NetBeans, another IDE for Java. Netbeans can be downloaded from here.

How to use Eclipse

Eclipse is a very useful program for programming in Java. It provides a nice environment to program in and makes debugging and testing easy. Below is a screenshot showing the user interface of Eclipse. Below that screenshot, is a guide onto how to use it.

Eclipse Screenshot

  1. Toolbar: This menu of buttons and drop down lists is where you would create, edit, and delete files, test/debug your application, and much, much more. The toolbar basically contains every tool and utility you will need to make the most of the Eclipse program, and what it has to offer.
  2. Package Explorer: This window is your navigation around your project workspace. Use this for selecting, locating, and arranging files in your project. It is essentially the Windows file and folder system. Click the arrow to the left of the packages and files to see what is contained in a package (folder) or what methods, fields, or other items are in a file in your project.
  3. Workspace: This is where the magic happens, and where you have the most fun. This is where you program and type up code into your files. Keywords (significant words in the Java language) are highlighted in purple, and fields (variables) and strings are in blue. You would most probably spend most of your time using Eclipse in this window.
  4. Console: This window is where the written output of your program is displayed during runtime. You can see what your program is doing at times in this window, as it displays information from the program here. Of course, you will need to learn how to program the console to say something, but it is very useful, espically for debugging.
  5. Outline: This window displays an outline of what is contained inside your opened file. You can see the general functions and types of items that are located within your class (file). This can be useful for seeing the general idea of what a specific file does.


You now have all of the software and programs needed to start programming in Java, and learning Java.

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