Favorite Java Tools
The Java tools that I use day in and day out are Sun's
SDK, JCreator, and Jacobe, with occasional help
from Together. Following are my comments on these tools
plus others I have reviewed before settling on what to use.
- The free tools from Sun that almost everyone uses: compiler, byte
code interpreter, documentation tools, and so on.
- This is my favorite development environment. It includes the features
I want and doesn't have a lot of baggage that I don't need. It's also fast and
light-weight compared to many of the alternatives. The biggest disadvantages
are a Windows-only implementation and a rather primitive debugger.
- There is a free version that lacks code completion. The
pro version is quite inexpensive.
- Eclipse is an open source development environment. It's not
Java-specific and it's another one of those huge tools meant for professional
programmers, not beginners. But it's free and does lots.
- BlueJ is at the other end of the spectrum. It was explicitly
developed for beginning Java programmers. Its most notable feature is a
workbench where users can instantiate an object directly and then
invoke its methods to see the object's behavior. This is a great
pedagogical aid. However, we chose a different route (interesting provided
classes) to achieve the same pedagogical end, so we don't use the tool. It also
includes some rudimentary class diagramming tools.
- JPad Pro
- JPad Pro is essentially a scriptable text editor that has extensions
to work with Java. It's very customizable. Lots of flexibility, but I think
it's too complex for the benefits it actually delivers.
- TextPad is another text editor that a number of academics have
recommended to me. Simple support for compiling Java programs, but seems to me
to be too stripped down.
- Jacobe is a Java code beautifier. It nicely indents code that has
become mangled during the development process. The settings file that I use is
here; installation instructions for use with JCreator