Development Environments

  A development environment consists, as a minimum, of an editor in which you create source files and a console in which you compile / run your programs and interact with them. There are many environments available and they span the entire spectrum in terms of features, integration, price, and platform. We have chosen to focus on three that are "free" and "platform independent":
  1. The Command Prompt -- LINK
    Also known as the "terminal" or the "DOS prompt". It is text-based and is part of every O/S. It does require some path-related setup, and since it is not integrated with an editor, you must install and use a separate editor (like nedit on Unix/Linux or Crimson on Windows) to write your programs. Follow the link for setup and TYPE-related issues.

  2. UniCon -- LINK
    UniCon is an application that simulates a very simple command prompt. It is written in Java and, thus, runs as-is on all platforms. And since it comes with TYPE (part of type.jar), it requires practically no setup. It is meant only for a first course on Java because it simulates only a small subset of the command prompt functionality. As with the command prompt, a separate editor is needed to create programs. it requires minimal setup. Follow the link for instructions.

  3. Eclipse -- LINK
    A sophisticated extensible environment that integrates an editor and a host of other units (debugger, tests, etc.). Follow the link for download and TYPE-related issues.

We believe every student must be able to operate in the command environment because, albeit ugly and primitive, every computer has one. Moreover, it is the environment against which products are tested. You can learn this environment either directly or as simulated in UniCon.

We also believe that every student must learn, and become comfortable with, an integrated development environment (IDE) like Eclipse because an IDE offers vast productivity. Admittedly, however, Eclipse is too big for a first course so if you find its download too lengthy or its features too overwhelming, use UniCon instead. You can move to an IDE in the second course.