The Eclipse IDE
Eclipse is an open source framework for building IDEs. As it is a Java product the first language plug-in was Java. It is a first rate IDE.
Before getting eclipse, you will have to install the latest JRE (Java Runtime Environment - currently JRE 1.5) from SUN. While you're at it get the Java documentation - currently JSE Documentation 1.5 - and install it as well.
I put everything under
Program Files. My directory looks like this when I'm
Now go to eclipse.org and download and install eclipse, according to their directions.
Setting Up a Project
First, switch your workspace to whatever directory you are going to keep your
own projects in. Here, I've created a
Projects directory in
Design purely for projects associated with this course.
When you hit the
OK button, eclipse will actually die. Don't be alarmed, that's
by design. It will quickly regenerate itself using the new configuration.
you've done that, you can create a new project using the
Projects menu. It's
pretty straightforward. Generally, it's a good idea to use separate
Getting the Visual Editor
The Visual Editor is a plug-in for Eclipse that has to be added in separately.
Go to the Help menu and select Software Updates, then Find and Install....
This will take you to one of the Eclipse update websites. Selevt one of them (I find the main site fine as long as it's in the morning).
Pick a site and hit Next>
Now you're going to have to pick the plugins you want from a very large list that looks like this.
Actually, the plug-ins you want are not on this list because I've already installed them on my version. . The installer only offers you stuff you don't have.
You might be tempted to pick something like Visual Editor SDK. It won't hurt your system but that's not what you want (unless you want to become a developer of Visual Editor itself).
You just want the Visual Editor. Actually, there are two other plug-ins you have to install first. I'll show you what they are in a minute but you could just pick Visual Editor. The system won't let you install it and will tell you what you must install first. So install that (once again ignoring SDK's and examples and other extraneous stuff). When you're finished, go through the process again to install the second piece and then a third time to finally install the Visual Editor.
Sort of a pain - but it took me only an hour and a half on a 33K dial-up. Just make sure you do it at a low demand time.
If you want to know what the actual other two pieces are, here are my installed plug-ins.
The other two plug-ins are the Graphical Editing Framework and the Java EMF Model. I'm not sure which has to be installed first (or whether it even matters).
Connecting in JavaDoc for Java
It's really useful to have an online Java reference. If you haven't already
done so, get the javaDoc files from sun and load them into your
Program Files as shown above.
Preferences under the
Installed JREs, select
jre1.5.0 and hit the
Now fill in the
Javadoc URL: box by browsing to the
docs directory on your
drive. Make sure you browse to the
api subdirectory or you wan't get anything.
OK and you should be good to go. Now you can put your cursor
over something unfamiliar in the
Editor window, hit
F2 and, so long as what you illuminated
is part of java the associated javadoc should load into a separate browser
window. You might want to keep it open for reference, and learn to navigate
around it separately.
Creating a Java Executable
The first step is to create a jar file (Java ARchive). This is basically a zip file containing all your class files, your resources (such as gifs or html pages used for dialog boxes) and a manifest file (which, most importantly, says which class file contains main).
Right click on your project and select Export.... then choose a JAR file
Fill in the wizard form as below. You should export resources
from src but not doc. Click
Now you need to specify the manifest. What is most important
here is to specify the class that holds your main function. When filled
in as below, click
In Windows XP, open windows explorer,
Options... from the
Tools menu, switch to the
Types tab and make sure that
JAR extension is associated with the
Java 2 platform Standard
Edition Binary as shown below.
Then all you should have to do is double click on your jar file to execute it!