How computers are programmed has come a long way from creating punch cards that must be in a precise order, which converted directly to binary (machine) code. We now have structured programming languages that bear a closer resemblance to modern mathematics than to a series of 1s and 0s. One of the front-running programming languages on the market today is Sun Microsystems’ Java. The Java language is unique because of its cross-platform compatibility, although this comes at the price of efficiency and speed. Nevertheless, Java remains a popular alternative to other programming languages such as C++, Python & Perl. Even how we program in these languages has changed from a simple text editor to complex development environments like Xcode and JCreator. However, the particular IDE that I will be addressing is the open-source, free-to-use, and cross platform Eclipse.
Eclipse is community developed software, designed and created by a number of users across the world, each who wished for a free and comprehensive development environment for their Java applications and Applets. The results have been nothing short of amazing.
Eclipse boasts a stunning graphical user interface, with carefully laid out buttons that make even the most complex development tasks a snap. The left side of the screen boasts a pseudo file-explorer window, where you can navigate to any files you might need for the task at hand. This also can display any packages you may be working with, along with a straightforward hierarchy that shows exactly where your files are placed.
Doing your programming with Eclipse couldn’t be easier. If you already have exiting java files, images, and other files, Eclipse can turn them into a project that will automatically open when Eclipse starts. Eclipse’s error catcher is phenomenal, pointing out where you missed a crucial semicolon or mistype a variable name. This leads to many hours of time saved because you’re only running the program when you know the basics work.
Eclipse also is terrific at customizing your pre-existing code. If you choose to change how a variable or method is named, Eclipse can go through every file you’re currently working with and adapt the specified change. This makes stylistic programming easier than ever, because you don’t have to trawl through lines and lines of code.
Eclipse is a fantastic tool for programmers both new and experienced that use Sun’s Java language. It is available for free online, and is a handy addition to your arsenal of programs.