Integrated development environments
Written by Julie Kent
Integrated development environments (IDEs) make it faster and easier to create programs. Although the JDK has only been available for a relatively short time, many development environments are being released for Java. Many of these are programs that were first written to support C++ development and were modified for Java. In this column I will review some of the IDEs I have been using. Links concerning these environments and many others can be found at
The first environment I used was
I was very impressed with
The class hierarchy browser included with this product took a little work to setup. However, the tutorial guided me through the setup process and it was worth the effort. I could easily search the classes in the JDK and any of the classes I created. This was useful for lookups and for cutting and pasting. The color coding in the editor was based on my Windows colors and took a little getting used to however this feature can be easily disabled without reducing the usefulness of the product. The compiler output was displayed in one window and clicking on an error located it in the code.
I also tried Object Engineering Workbench(tm) from
The class hierarchy browser was very helpful and in this product it was much simpler to load the existing classes. . Importing existing code and displaying the objects graphically was easy. OEW helped with a lot of the project management tasks such as making sure all of the pieces of a project are availableIt even generated a makefile for the project.
Most recently I have downloaded Java Workshop from Sun. The big surprise here was the significant memory requirements. It requires at least 24Mb RAM under Windows 95. The user interface is graphically oriented and it comes with an excellent tutorial to help you get started. This is useful because not all of the options and commands are completely intuitive.
Unlike the other products which seems to still have help screens or comments referencing C++ development, this product was created expressly for Java. It is able to seamlessly incorporate many of the features unique to applet development. You can easily run an applet and pass it parameters without expressly creating an HTML page for it. Using the debugger in this tool is much simpler than in any of the other tools that I have tried.
In general, I highly recommend getting started with anyone of the IDEs that are available. Even if you are just learning the language any of these environments will shorten your development time and increase your productivity. The best environment will depend on your system resources and the projects that you plan to undertake. The list described here is by no means exhaustive. Once you have developed a project using an IDE you will have a better idea of which features are important for your productivity.
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