Prepare your computer to write Java code

Summary of what you are going to install:

  1. Java JDK
  2. Java IDE

Although you may use Windows or MAC OS as an operating system for your development computer, as a beginner it is recommended that you use a Linux-based distribution.

If you haven’t installed the OS read this article.

Summary of what you need:

  1. java
  2. netbeans or community edition IDEA
  3. team viewer

Here are the steps:

1) Set a root password that is easy to type and remember

Ok, some people may claim this is risky but remember that we are setting up a development computer for novices and for assisted coding. If you have important/sensitive data to the same computer (which you shouldn’t) you could skip this step.

Here is a sample code that will change the root password (you will be prompt for the new one):

sudo passwd root

You will be asked for your password. Type it two times.

2) Install Java JDK

You could use openjava but beware that some libraries (like JavaFX) are not supported for license related reasons so its better to use Oracle Java.

If you don’t need a specific version then simply install the lastest one.

For instructions on how to install Open JDK read this article.

3) Install the desired IDE

The recommended IDE for Java is netbeans. Another great option is IntelliJ IDEA community edition from JetBrains. You could use eclipse too, but I don’t think it is a good choice. Specifically for Android you should install Android Studio instead and ignore all the others (obviously)

Download netbeans and store it to ~/Downloads:

$ cd ~/Downloads
$ chmod a+x
$ ./  

At this point we are mostly ready. We could do some additional configuration to make our workspace more efficient.

For Intellij Idea the process is much simpler: you just download the file and untar it to a directory below your home directory.

We recommend to create a directory named opt below your home directory.

If you install netbeans and have installed java 8 or newer you may receive the following error message: “not all requested modules can be enabled”. You can fix this error via the following links:

4) Prepare your taskbar / desktop

Pin the following to your taskbar (or desktop):

  1. a web browser of your choice
  2. the IDE you have installed
  3. optionally a file manager

Unpin any items you don’t need. You will work more efficiently if you keep the desktop clean and tidy.

5) Prepare your workspace for the project (optional)

If you have a specific project or assignment you want to complete then:

  1. create a folder on your desktop
  2. copy to that folder the assignment PDF, any slides and additional resources you were given.

6) Install optional software

You may need to install other useful programs according to this post.

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