Learning Languages: Java 1

The first thing you’ll need to consider is the development environment you want to use primarily. This is important as it will have an impact on how you run through tutorials and examples later on.

Environments can be broken down into two broad categories; command-line or a visual IDE. Both have their merits and you’ll eventually need to be familiar with both (especially if you expect to be releasing production code or participating in any well-maintained development environment).

The most common command-line environments are Maven and Ivy. Both come with a somewhat steep learning curve (which, unfortunately is unavoidable) but both are well worth investigating as they are both very common in production environments.

Starting out, however, you’ll most likely find that using a visual IDE will help you get right down to learning and compiling example code fairly quickly.

There are several common IDEs; IntelliJ, NetBeans, and Eclipse are all great ones that I’ve seen used in production. My favorite hands-down is Eclipse, especially since it also has configurations to help you develop in other languages such as PHP (Aptana) and C/C++.

For general basics and a broad overview of Java; I would recommend you take a look at the Java Beginner site.

There’s also several handy video tutorials (mostly using Eclipse) on YouTube such as this one:

Once you get the basics down, I’ve found that working on a full project helps. A great place to start would be to help our with an existing open-source project like JSword.

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