Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Learning Software Tools - Java, Web

Software development techniques and languages for too long have been monopolized by insiders. If you're a Java student here are two useful downloads.

You and your child can freely download rich, industrial strength tools to learn with. You'll need a computer with a few gigabytes of disk space for everything but most newer home computers will suffice.

The Java Software Development Kit (J2SE 5.0) is available as a separate bundle here. Just download the separate bundle and follow the easy instructions. It will install itself on your machine so that you can use it to compile Java code into your own programs.

Next, get a copy of Eclipse, an open source Java Interactive Development (IDE) tool. This too will download and install itself by simply following the easy instructions.

(NoteToMyself: Finish this masterlist, add link to tutorials)


Tom Hoffman said...

Or you could get Squeak Smalltalk, or Python, which are simpler places to start.

Frank Krasicki said...

Welcome Tom,

Thanks for the suggestions.

Java is already being taught at EO and its become one of the de facto languages used by businesses and government in Connecticut. I'm advocating Java, not so much to push career education as to promote introducing students to one of the most ubiquitous and richly supported computer languages of all time.

Squeak Smalltalk is virtually non-existent in this area and the online critical mass of support from the profession is negligible. Java on the other hand has more online help than one can imagine. That's a key consideration.

The ability to use Eclipse as a free Interactive Development Environment (IDE) for Java makes this a slam dunk. Eclipse is a very friendly pseudo-tutor.

As for Python, I'm recommending the Java implementation, Jython for scripting (IBM is beginning to introduce it in their systems software).

The holidays constrain my ability to respond with more detail and, as you can imagine, the issues are much more complex. I'll be posting a tutorial shortly ("eating my own dogfood"). Stay tuned.

And please read this response as friendly despite the brevity - let's keep the dialogue going.