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# Is it bad to use an IDE when you're just starting out with programming in Java?

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The book I am thinking about buying to learn how to program in Java advises the reader to avoid using any IDE such as NetBeans or Eclipse. Instead, it recommends the use of a simple code editor such as TextPad or Notepad++. It says IDEs, while they make programming easier and more efficient, don't allow the beginning programmer to learn as much. Do you agree with this?

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ivor-hortons-beginning-java-ivor-horton/1102164532?ean=9780470404140

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I feel like trying to learn programming without an IDE would be really frustrating if you didn't know what you were doing. An IDE will not only tell you that you have an error, but it will tell you WHERE the error is. As a beginner, you don't really know what you're looking for when it comes to debugging and it would make it a lot more of a pain than it has to be.

Just my opinion.

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I agree that an IDE can make things seem more complicated than they are/should be, but with the right guidance an IDE is fine.

If you take some time to read about the different parts of Eclipse or Netbeans, and how their UI's are laid out, you'll be fine, perhaps even better off than without using an IDE.

It won't be long before you'll encounter an error, or before you'll want to add a break to a line, enbaling you to step through every statement in your code - and that's much more complicated without an IDE, IMO.

The things you need to focus on from the beginning, regardless what IDE you'll be using, is (1) The code view (that main area that you can type into) like mainstream text editors, it allows a tab for every open source file.

(2) The project explorer (that bit showing your project, the contained packages and the source files as a tree structure)

(3) Basic project settings, where you can add some jars to extend your project with. This will be more important later on, but it's essential for setting up a project in the first go.

The rest will in my experience both as a TA and a developer come gradually.

Of course, for the very first steps it may be easier for some to go without an IDE, like Nercury says. Check Oracle's first lesson on the topic. But again, I wouldn't call it a gamebreaker if you start with an IDE.

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An IDE is not for learning stuff, it is to increase your efficiency once a text editor limit it. Getting into an IDE is not really trivial, especially eclipse etc. are not trivial at all. Therefor I would always sugguest to start with a simple text editor which supports syntax highlighting, much like Notepad++. Come on, it is just

javac test.java
java -cp . test


to compile and run a simple test java class.

Once you feel, that you have a good hold of the language and you think that a text editor is a clumpsy way to develop, you should consider using an IDE.

PS: this is java, not C++. Developing your first "Hello World" in java is really simple without using an IDE. An IDE is just a tool, which will not make a better developer out of you (thought a faster one).

Edited by Ashaman73

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I feel it is garbage. An IDE in modern programming is nearly as influential as the language itself. Why spend so much time fighting your non-IDE? I find it hard to believe you learn better/faster with so much overhead.

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I feel it is garbage. An IDE in modern programming is nearly as influential as
the language itself. Why spend so much time fighting your non-IDE? I find it hard to believe you learn better/faster with so much overhead.

You ever used Eclipse? Between learning Java and learning Eclipse... I think Java is the easier task.

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When I started Java learning I had to do my first 5 learning Programs without an IDE, just Notepad++ and Command Line.

After that I got Eclipse for SE developers and started using Eclipse.

I really think doing your first setps without IDE won't hurt you but getting better and understand whats going on in the background you will need a good IDE and a debugger.

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IMO this advice is nonsense.  An IDE is a useful tool, and for a beginner can help you avoid fundamental mistakes that may otherwise stop you in your tracks.

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PS: this is java, not C++. Developing your first "Hello World" in java is really simple without using an IDE. An IDE is just a tool, which will not make a better developer out of you (thought a faster one).

While I agree with the middle sentence, I find the others curious.

I recommend people get started with C and C++ without an IDE. The compile/build process is really integral to how and why those languages do things in a certain way, and it's important to understand it piece by piece instead of just hoping for the right things to magically happen. With Java, you can start the same way and I guess that would give you a little bit of extra perspective, but not anything critical. Might as well start with the IDE.

And IDEs are particularly helpful with Java. It is a long-winded language with limited expressiveness and all the functionality is buried in gigantic libraries. IDE autocompletion and integrated help can help cut down time wasted browsing a reference, and leave more time for learning. Easy access to a visual debugger also smooths over a good amount of learning bumps, particularly if you are self-learning and have no one to help you with tricky bugs.

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