JAVA development tools install

The JAVA Language is characterized by the JAVA Virtual Machine (JVM) known also in the JAVA world as JAVA Runtime Environment (JRE).

This piece of software gives JAVA its key characteristic which is the portability.

This means that the JVM allows a program written in the JAVA language to be run in the platforms that have the JVM installed.

This is a big advantage of JAVA when we compare it with other programming languages like the C or C++ languages which are not portables.

In fact, any JAVA program gets compiled to get a binary code called Byte code and then the JVM reads these binary instructions and executes them.

This makes JAVA as a compiled and interpreted language because the program goes through the compilation step to become a byte code and then it gets interpreted by the JVM in order to make it run on our computers. 

We will deal in depth with the compilation, interpretation and their steps in this dedicated tutorial, but now we will focus only on installing the JAVA tools and JAVA IDEs in order to get started with JAVA.

In order to start to program in JAVA, we need also an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) which is a piece of software which facilitates the development task by giving us a set of tools and menus which make programming easier:

·        Text Editor

·        Easy compilation and execution of JAVA programs

·        Debugging: helps us to find programming errors in a JAVA program

·        Many other tools which help us in project management and other stuff

Surely, you can program in JAVA without using an IDE but this will not be practical.

In this case, you need a text editor I addition to the JDK and you need to run your programs in the command line.

If you want to learn to program in JAVA in the command line, please check this tutorial to get an idea about how this can be done.

Install the necessary JAVA development tools

Choose between JRE or JDK as a JAVA development tool

Now, we know what the JRE is because we explained it in the introduction of this tutorial but I will recall this concept.

So, the JRE is necessary to run a program written in JAVA but if you want to write your own programs and run them on any machine, you need the JDK.

The JDK (JAVA Development Kit) contains the JRE, a set of a precompiled and ready to use classes which implement the features of the JAVA language, the compiler and the necessary JAVA development tools.

I advise you to download the latest stable JDK through this link.

choose jdk

Once you click on download JDK you will get into this page.

download jdk

Check the radio button: Accept licence Agreement. Then click on the download link which corresponds to your platform (x86 for 32 bits Operating Systems and x64 for 64 bits Operating Systems).

For windows platform, the download links are highlighted.

The JAVA language allows developing applications for different platforms:

·        JAVA SE (JAVA Standard Edition): used to develop desktop applications manned to be run on computers (the subject of this tutorial about JAVA Fundamentals)

·        JAVA EE (JAVA Entreprise Edition): used to develop web applications in JAVA

·        JME (JAVA Micro Edition): used to develop applications for mobile devices, PDA,…

·        Android: used to develop applications for all the devices that have Android as its Operating System (mobile phones, tablets, TV, washing machine, …)

 The Eclipse IDE (The well known JAVA development tool)

Eclipse IDE is a JAVA development tool developed in its own in JAVA. It is an Integrated Development Environment which allows to program in many other programming languages like PHP, C, C++, TCL, Javascript…

The eclipse IDE is developed based on the plugin concept. So in order to add a new functionality the the IDE, you need to install the plugin that ensures this functionality.

In order to know how to install a plugin in eclipse, please check this tutorial.

The Eclipse IDE will help us in compiling and running our programs.

To get the eclipse JAVA development tool, we need to download the latest stable version from the eclipse IDE website.

We need to choose Eclipse IDE for Java Developers option which is compatible with our operating system.

You need to select your target platform as it s shown in the image below in order to get the right download for your platform.

You find many versions of the Eclipse IDE in the official website but there are no big differences between these versions other than additional plugins preinstalled for each version. 

choose eclipse ide for java developers

Then, select a mirror for your download (The nearest mirror to your location is the best option) and wait for the download to finish.

You can choose the default mirror for your download by clicking the download button:

Or you can choose another mirror (highlighted in yellow) from the mirrors that you will find at the bottom of the page.

eclipse ide mirrors

When the download finishes, you will get an archive file which contains the Eclipse IDE files and folders.

If you think that the Eclipse IDE should be installed on your computer before you launch it, you are wrong because this software needs only to get unzipped and then you can launch it by clicking on the eclipse.exe file that you find in the unzipped folder.

Once you click on the eclipse.exe file, the following dialog appears to ask you about the location of the JAVA workspace.


The workspace is the folder which will contain all your projects (the default workspace path is C:\users\yourusername\workspace).

So, keep the default path and click on OK. If you want that this dialog will not appear again when you launch the Eclipse IDE, you need to check the “Use this as default and do not ask again” option.

Finally, close the welcome screen by clicking the x sign to get an overview of your recently downloaded JAVA development tool.

eclipse ide welcome screen

Introduction to the Eclipse IDE interface

The use of each of the buttons of the Eclipse IDE toolbar is explained below:

1)     Replaces File -> New

2)     Create new visual class (for creating GUI classes)

3)     Save: saves the current file. The same thing can be done with the shortcut (CTRL + S)

4)     Save all: saves all the modified files in the project

5)     Debug: helps you to find programming errors in your project

6)     Execute the current Class or the current project

7)     Runs the last used JAVA development tool

8)     Create a new package:  replaces File > New > package

9)     Create a new class: replaces File > New > Class

Please, don’t be afraid if you encounter a new term, because we will explain it later in the course when we need it.

Create the First JAVA project using the eclipse JAVA development tool

Now, we will create a new JAVA project to make sure that our JAVA installation works fine.

So you should follow these steps:

Step 1: Click on File > New > Project then choose JAVA project and click next

eclipse create new project

Step 2: Fill the project name field with a string (For example MyFirstProject), choose your JAVA SE version that you will use with the current project (Keep the default and you are done) and click on finish.

The principal fields in the screen below are:

1)     the project name

2)     the location of the project in the hard disk (“C:\users\yourusername (PRO in our case)\workspace\MyFirstProject”)

3)     The JAVA SE version used in this project (in our case, it is JAVA SE 1.8)

eclipse create new project step 2

Now, you should see your recently created project in the left hand window.

eclipse new project layout

The next step is to create the main class and to put some code to test our JAVA tools.

Create the first JAVA Class using the eclipse development tool

Don’t be afraid of the new concept of class, because we will explain it later in the course.

In order to create our First JAVA class we should follow these steps:

Step 1: Choose File > New > Class

create eclipse project step2

The field number 1 which is the project source shows where the class is stored in the project (My Project /src is the folder where the class file is saved)

The field number 2 contains the class name (choose the name MyFirstClass for example).The name of a class should begin by a capital letter and each word in the name should begin by a capital letter also: this is called the Camel Case rule.

The selected public static void main(String[] args)  option informs eclipse to generate this method automatically in the created class.

After clicking the finish button, your project will be like this:

eclipse project layout

The package explorer in the left hand side in yellow shows the project files.

The pink area shows the content of any file when you double click it.

The orange area (the outline window) shows the methods and attributes contained in a class.

The purple area shows the output of the execution of a JAVA program.

Please, bare in mind that any JAVA program should have at least one class and only one main class.

The main class contains the main method (public static void main(String[] args)  ) and this class is the entry point of a JAVA program.

This means that when we run a JAVA program, we run the main method of its main class.

Create the first JAVA Program using the eclipse development tool

We will add a code to the main method of our main class that we named MyFirstClass in order to say hello to the world.

The code to add to the main class is the following:

We should add this line inside the main method: System.out.print("Hello World !");

So, the main method becomes like this: 

public static void main(String[] args){
System.out.print("Hello World !");

Now, we should run our program by clicking the highlighted button shown below. 

eclipse program run

Once the program is run, you should see the “Hello World !!” message in the console window.

eclipse program hello world

This method executes the method print() of the object out of the class System.

This method will display the hello world message in the console window.

The printed message is highlighted in yellow in the screen above.

This tutorial arrived at its end. So, if you have any questions or remarks about any JAVA development tool or subject, please don’t hesitate to give us your feedbacks by adding comments and suggestions.

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