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LBSC 790/INFM 718B
Building the Human - Computer Interface
Fall 2004
Self-Graded Exercise 1

This exercise should take about 2 hours to complete (although the download steps may take much longer if you don't have a fast Intenet connection). If you get stuck, send email to the TA or the professor. But be forewarned that it is very difficult to help someone who sends an email that says "I tried it and it didn't work!" So if you send email looking for help, it would be helpful to know what worked, exactly what didn't, and what the symptoms of the failure were. If you're working wiht a laptop and are coming to the lab for help, bring the laptop with you.

In this assignment, you will install the software that you need to run Java on your home computer and then you will use that software to create and run one of the world's simplest Java programs. Once you have done this, you should be well positioned to follow along in as you read Head First Java by trying out small programs to test your mastery of the ideas that you are learning.

There are many software development environments available for Java, so finding the "right" development environment at any point in time can be difficult because it is a moving target. We will download two that are well matched to our needs.

The first development environment to install is the Java 2 Standard Edition Software Development Kit J2SE SDK), which is available on Sun's Java Web site (http://java.sun.com). You need to download this one first because parts of it are needed by Eclipse (which you will download next). The version that you want is called the J2SE SDK version 1.4.2. You do NOT want version 1.5 (which is not completely compatible with the vession of Eclipse that we will be using). On Windows (2000/XP/...), the version you want is called "Windows Installation, Multi-Language." As I am writing this, the latest version is actually numbered 1.4.2_05, which is the fifth corrected version of release 1.4.2. It does not matter which corrected version you get, but if you have an old version on your system (below 1.4.2), you should update it now. The installation process is automatic, so go get a cup of coffee while you for this to finish.

The next thing to do is to install Eclipse, which is available at http://eclipse.org. The Java 2 SDK is handy when you want to handle all of the details yourself, and you might even prefer to use it all the time if you are running an older (slower) machine with a limited amount of memory. But you will probably find Eclipse much easier to use, and if it runs well on your machine it is likely to become your preferred development environment. Be sure to get Eclipse version 3.0, which is the latest available as this is being written. On the Eclipse Downlaod Page, select "Main Eclipse Download Site" and then "Build 3.0" in the "Latest Releases" section. Select the version that is appropriate to your operating system ("http" transfer should work fine). You probably want to choose the "save" option to put the resulting .zip file somewhere on your hard drive. If clicking on the resulting file asks what application should be used, download and install WinZip and try again. Once you have WinZip open with the files for Eclipse listed, select "Extract" (in the menu at the top), select "all files," and tell it where you want Eclipse installed (I put mine in c:\java). You'll be using Eclipse a lot, so you probably want to put a shortcut to it on your desktop. You can do that easily by opening the directory you specified, then opening the eclipse subdirectory, holding down the "Alt" key, and dragging the blue eclipse icon to your desktop (without releasing the "Alt" key!).

Once you have Eclipse inslled, click on the blue Eclipse icon to start the program. To get some initial orientation, answer the initial question about where things should be put (the default answer is fine) and then select "Tutorials" on the next screen that appears. Then select "Build a Simple Java Application" from the screen that appears. If you follow those instructions, your first Java program should print "Hellp World!" on your screen. That's when you'll know that you're done ... your now ready to think up your own programs, type them in, and run them!

Doug Oard
Last modified: Fri Aug 20 22:06:06 2004