Do we have educational IDEs?

Discussion in 'Java' started by hiwa, May 2, 2005.

  1. hiwa

    hiwa Guest

    I have seen number of scenes where IDEs are nothing but serious
    stumbling blocks for Java programming beginners. I think that is
    because, basically, IDE is designed as a tool for professional,
    not a learning aid.

    But, if their main career tool should be an IDE when they became
    a young professional, I feel IDEs with some educational cares
    implemented should be preferred to a plain editor and command
    line compiling cycles.

    What is your opinion about this? And, do we already have IDEs
    for educational purposes?
    hiwa, May 2, 2005
    #1
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  2. In article <>,
    (hiwa) wrote:

    > I have seen number of scenes where IDEs are nothing but serious
    > stumbling blocks for Java programming beginners. I think that is
    > because, basically, IDE is designed as a tool for professional,
    > not a learning aid.
    >
    > But, if their main career tool should be an IDE when they became
    > a young professional, I feel IDEs with some educational cares
    > implemented should be preferred to a plain editor and command
    > line compiling cycles.
    >
    > What is your opinion about this? And, do we already have IDEs
    > for educational purposes?


    Eclipse 3.1 is a very helpful IDE. It has smart completion suggestion
    menus, realtime syntax checking, automatic background compilation,
    detailed error reporting with menus of suggested fixes, class hierarchy
    mapping, JavaDoc tooltips, refactoring, reference and implementation
    searching, generation of delegation methods, and local and remote
    debugging.

    It's free, open source, and cross platform. The only cost of using it
    is that it needs a very powerful system to be responsive.
    Kevin McMurtrie, May 2, 2005
    #2
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  3. hiwa

    Guest

    "hiwa" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >I have seen number of scenes where IDEs are nothing but serious
    > stumbling blocks for Java programming beginners. I think that is
    > because, basically, IDE is designed as a tool for professional,
    > not a learning aid.
    >
    > But, if their main career tool should be an IDE when they became
    > a young professional, I feel IDEs with some educational cares
    > implemented should be preferred to a plain editor and command
    > line compiling cycles.
    >
    > What is your opinion about this? And, do we already have IDEs
    > for educational purposes?


    Yes, BlueJ.
    , May 2, 2005
    #3
  4. hiwa

    Steve Reeves Guest

    I'm learning Java2 using JCreator (www.jcreator.com)

    The LE version is free, written in C++ and so is responsive. It's nice
    easy and straightforward - just what I need when I'm learning.

    I did download the netBeans things initially - had no idea what I was
    doing - scared me to death. Jcreator and no doubt the other suggestions
    in this thread are ideal to learn with.

    HTH
    Steve

    > What is your opinion about this? And, do we already have IDEs
    > for educational purposes?
    Steve Reeves, May 2, 2005
    #4
  5. hiwa

    Chris Uppal Guest

    Kevin McMurtrie wrote:

    > And, do we already have IDEs
    > > for educational purposes?

    >
    > Eclipse 3.1 is a very helpful IDE. It has [list of features deleted]


    It is also huge, confusing, full of "advanced" features, and is completely
    lacking in features that would help anyone to learn (with the arguable
    exception of auto-completion). IMO it is not even /slightly/ suitable for
    beginners[*].

    For the OP, BlueJ /is/ designed for beginners. More specifically, it is
    designed for use by people who are learning to program, and learning how to
    think OO. I've never taught, with or without BlueJ, so I can't recommend it
    from personal experience, but the approach they take looks extremely promising
    to me.

    -- chris

    ([*] I'm not so sure that it's particularly suitable for anyone else either. I
    use it myself -- as the least bad option available within my budget -- but I
    don't like it much)
    Chris Uppal, May 2, 2005
    #5
  6. hiwa wrote:
    > I have seen number of scenes where IDEs are nothing but serious
    > stumbling blocks for Java programming beginners. I think that is
    > because, basically, IDE is designed as a tool for professional,
    > not a learning aid.
    >
    > But, if their main career tool should be an IDE when they became
    > a young professional, I feel IDEs with some educational cares
    > implemented should be preferred to a plain editor and command
    > line compiling cycles.
    >
    > What is your opinion about this? And, do we already have IDEs
    > for educational purposes?


    I am one of these people you deeply believe that people should learn the
    basics. This includes handling an editor, a compiler and some build
    files. I deeply mistrust "programmers" who can't even find a compiler
    command line switch.

    It is for the same reason I don't trust craftsmen who don't know how to
    handle basic tools of their trade. My car doesn't get serviced by
    someone who can't handle a screwdriver but does everything exclusively
    with an air wrench, does yours?

    I am not saying that IDEs are bad, just that a career-programmer should
    know more than just how to click in an IDE.

    /Thomas

    --
    The comp.lang.java.gui FAQ:
    ftp://ftp.cs.uu.nl/pub/NEWS.ANSWERS/computer-lang/java/gui/faq
    Thomas Weidenfeller, May 2, 2005
    #6
  7. hiwa

    Ross Bamford Guest

    On Mon, 2005-05-02 at 10:11 +0100, Chris Uppal wrote:
    > Kevin McMurtrie wrote:
    > >
    > > Eclipse 3.1 is a very helpful IDE. It has [list of features deleted]

    >
    > It is also huge, confusing, full of "advanced" features, and is completely
    > lacking in features that would help anyone to learn (with the arguable
    > exception of auto-completion). IMO it is not even /slightly/ suitable for
    > beginners[*].


    IMO auto-complete is responsible for more poor programmers than any
    other single feature of modern IDEs. When you're starting out you learn
    by getting it wrong and it interferes with that.

    I'm still to be convinced there is a suitable replacement for an decent
    editor (like <plug>JEdit</plug>) and Sun JDK. These skills can be
    applied anywhere later on.

    --
    [Ross A. Bamford] [ross AT the.website.domain]
    Roscopeco Open Tech ++ Open Source + Java + Apache + CMF
    http://www.roscopec0.f9.co.uk/ + in
    Ross Bamford, May 2, 2005
    #7
  8. hiwa wrote:
    > I have seen number of scenes where IDEs are nothing but serious
    > stumbling blocks for Java programming beginners. I think that is
    > because, basically, IDE is designed as a tool for professional,
    > not a learning aid.
    >
    > But, if their main career tool should be an IDE when they became
    > a young professional, I feel IDEs with some educational cares
    > implemented should be preferred to a plain editor and command
    > line compiling cycles.
    >
    > What is your opinion about this? And, do we already have IDEs
    > for educational purposes?


    BlueJ was written explicitly for teaching java language and OO
    thinking. It does what's needed but is simple enough that it
    doesn't "get in the way".

    Have a look at their web site www.bluej.org.

    Steve
    Steve Horsley, May 2, 2005
    #8
  9. hiwa

    Guest

    Personally, I favor a simple text editor like JEdit and the command
    line
    for novices. For an educational IDE, take a look at Dr. Java or BlueJ.
    , May 2, 2005
    #9
  10. Thomas Weidenfeller wrote:
    ....
    > I am one of these people you deeply believe that people
    > should learn the basics. This includes handling an
    > editor, a compiler and some build files. I deeply
    > mistrust "programmers" who can't even find a compiler
    > command line switch.

    ....

    The problem with this is deciding the limits of "the
    basics". For example, you don't include assembly language
    programming. Why not? It certainly contributes to a deeper
    understanding of programming than writing only in a high
    level language.

    What are your criteria for selecting "the basics"?

    Patricia
    Patricia Shanahan, May 2, 2005
    #10
  11. hiwa

    Chris Uppal Guest

    Ross Bamford wrote:

    > IMO auto-complete is responsible for more poor programmers than any
    > other single feature of modern IDEs. When you're starting out you learn
    > by getting it wrong and it interferes with that.


    I'm inclined to agree, but it does depend on a number of factors. For
    instance, the Java class library is pretty huge, and it just isn't possible to
    learn enough of it for any of it to make sense in isolation, until /after/
    you've done some programming -- but how to do that programming if you know
    nothing about the class library ? Autocomplete /may/ (IMO) help to get over
    that stage by, in effect, providing training wheels for the wobbling
    programmer-to-be.


    > I'm still to be convinced there is a suitable replacement for an decent
    > editor (like <plug>JEdit</plug>) and Sun JDK. These skills can be
    > applied anywhere later on.


    Where the <insert editor of choice here> + JDK approach fails (or rather, where
    it risks failure) is that it doesn't teach /objects/. If all you are doing is
    writing code, then it's unlikely that you'll ever think about anything except
    code. The BlueJ IDE is uniquely (in the Java world) aimed at teaching OO by
    providing "real" access to live objects. That (IMO) makes a difference in
    kind.

    I'm reluctant to claim too much for BlueJ because -- although I know what an
    enormous difference it makes to work with live objects -- I'm not entirely
    convinced that BlueJ does provide an experience of objects that's rich
    /enough/, although they've certainly done a reasonable job within limits set by
    the JVM.

    -- chris
    Chris Uppal, May 2, 2005
    #11
  12. hiwa

    Bill Tschumy Guest

    On Sun, 1 May 2005 21:00:00 -0500, hiwa wrote
    (in article <>):

    > I have seen number of scenes where IDEs are nothing but serious
    > stumbling blocks for Java programming beginners. I think that is
    > because, basically, IDE is designed as a tool for professional,
    > not a learning aid.
    >
    > But, if their main career tool should be an IDE when they became
    > a young professional, I feel IDEs with some educational cares
    > implemented should be preferred to a plain editor and command
    > line compiling cycles.
    >
    > What is your opinion about this? And, do we already have IDEs
    > for educational purposes?


    I designed Jurtle as an educational IDE. It is very simple to use and uses a
    built-in tutorial and Turtle Graphics (a.la. Logo) for teaching the basics of
    programming.

    Jurtle was designed for older middle school and high school students, but has
    been used by many adults that want a gentle introduction to programming.

    <http://www.otherwise.com/Jurtle.html>

    --
    Bill Tschumy
    Otherwise -- Austin, TX
    http://www.otherwise.com
    Bill Tschumy, May 2, 2005
    #12
  13. hiwa

    Guest

    "Chris Uppal" <-THIS.org> wrote in message
    news:4275ed50$0$38037$...
    > Kevin McMurtrie wrote:
    >
    >> And, do we already have IDEs
    >> > for educational purposes?

    >>
    >> Eclipse 3.1 is a very helpful IDE. It has [list of features deleted]

    >
    > It is also huge, confusing, full of "advanced" features, and is completely
    > lacking in features that would help anyone to learn (with the arguable
    > exception of auto-completion). IMO it is not even /slightly/ suitable for
    > beginners[*].
    >
    > For the OP, BlueJ /is/ designed for beginners. More specifically, it is
    > designed for use by people who are learning to program, and learning how
    > to
    > think OO. I've never taught, with or without BlueJ, so I can't recommend
    > it
    > from personal experience, but the approach they take looks extremely
    > promising
    > to me.
    >
    > -- chris
    >
    > ([*] I'm not so sure that it's particularly suitable for anyone else
    > either. I
    > use it myself -- as the least bad option available within my budget -- but
    > I
    > don't like it much)


    I've been teaching with BlueJ. I and the students
    like it very much. It's free. Take a look:

    http://www.bluej.org/
    , May 2, 2005
    #13
  14. hiwa

    Guest

    "Steve Horsley" <> wrote in message
    news:d552gm$ga2$2surf.net...
    > hiwa wrote:
    >> I have seen number of scenes where IDEs are nothing but serious
    >> stumbling blocks for Java programming beginners. I think that is
    >> because, basically, IDE is designed as a tool for professional,
    >> not a learning aid.
    >>
    >> But, if their main career tool should be an IDE when they became
    >> a young professional, I feel IDEs with some educational cares
    >> implemented should be preferred to a plain editor and command
    >> line compiling cycles.
    >>
    >> What is your opinion about this? And, do we already have IDEs
    >> for educational purposes?

    >
    > BlueJ was written explicitly for teaching java language and OO thinking.
    > It does what's needed but is simple enough that it doesn't "get in the
    > way".
    >
    > Have a look at their web site www.bluej.org.
    >
    > Steve


    What Steve said.

    George
    , May 2, 2005
    #14
  15. hiwa

    Ross Bamford Guest

    On Mon, 2005-05-02 at 14:42 +0100, Chris Uppal wrote:
    > Ross Bamford wrote:
    >
    > > IMO auto-complete is responsible for more poor programmers than any
    > > other single feature of modern IDEs. When you're starting out you learn
    > > by getting it wrong and it interferes with that.

    >
    > I'm inclined to agree, but it does depend on a number of factors. For
    > instance, the Java class library is pretty huge, and it just isn't possible to
    > learn enough of it for any of it to make sense in isolation, until /after/
    > you've done some programming -- but how to do that programming if you know
    > nothing about the class library ? Autocomplete /may/ (IMO) help to get over
    > that stage by, in effect, providing training wheels for the wobbling
    > programmer-to-be.


    Well, definitely, but I've met too many programmers who automatically
    type their identifier, wait for the method list, scroll to the method,
    insert, wait for the variables, etc.

    Perhaps an IDE that supports auto-complete, but only gives the user a
    limited number of uses, a "three completes and you're out" rule :)

    > Where the <insert editor of choice here> + JDK approach fails (or rather, where
    > it risks failure) is that it doesn't teach /objects/. If all you are doing is
    > writing code, then it's unlikely that you'll ever think about anything except
    > code. The BlueJ IDE is uniquely (in the Java world) aimed at teaching OO by
    > providing "real" access to live objects. That (IMO) makes a difference in
    > kind.


    This intrigues me, I'm off to have a look :)

    Cheers,
    Ross

    --
    [Ross A. Bamford] [ross AT the.website.domain]
    Roscopeco Open Tech ++ Open Source + Java + Apache + CMF
    http://www.roscopec0.f9.co.uk/ + in
    Ross Bamford, May 2, 2005
    #15
  16. Chris Uppal coughed up:
    > Ross Bamford wrote:
    >
    >> IMO auto-complete is responsible for more poor programmers than any
    >> other single feature of modern IDEs. When you're starting out you
    >> learn by getting it wrong and it interferes with that.

    >
    > I'm inclined to agree, but it does depend on a number of factors. For
    > instance, the Java class library is pretty huge, and it just isn't
    > possible to learn enough of it for any of it to make sense in
    > isolation, until /after/ you've done some programming -- but how to
    > do that programming if you know nothing about the class library ?
    > Autocomplete /may/ (IMO) help to get over that stage by, in effect,
    > providing training wheels for the wobbling programmer-to-be.



    Possibly. The biggest problem with the class library is not its size per se
    IMO, but the fact that the old ways and new ways of doing things are sitting
    side by side and intertwined to a horrible degree. Furthermore, sometimes
    the "old ways" have not reached the point of deprecation, so the user has
    very little chance of knowing which way to go. I don't see any kind of
    autocompletion solving that problem.



    >> I'm still to be convinced there is a suitable replacement for an
    >> decent editor (like <plug>JEdit</plug>) and Sun JDK. These skills
    >> can be applied anywhere later on.

    >
    > Where the <insert editor of choice here> + JDK approach fails (or
    > rather, where it risks failure) is that it doesn't teach /objects/.
    > If all you are doing is writing code, then it's unlikely that you'll
    > ever think about anything except code. The BlueJ IDE is uniquely (in
    > the Java world) aimed at teaching OO by providing "real" access to
    > live objects. That (IMO) makes a difference in kind.
    >
    > I'm reluctant to claim too much for BlueJ because -- although I know
    > what an enormous difference it makes to work with live objects -- I'm
    > not entirely convinced that BlueJ does provide an experience of
    > objects that's rich /enough/, although they've certainly done a
    > reasonable job within limits set by the JVM.
    >
    > -- chris




    --
    "So I just, uh... I just cut them up like regular chickens?"
    "Sure, just cut them up like regular chickens."
    Thomas G. Marshall, May 5, 2005
    #16
  17. Chris Uppal coughed up:
    > Kevin McMurtrie wrote:
    >
    >> And, do we already have IDEs
    >>> for educational purposes?

    >>
    >> Eclipse 3.1 is a very helpful IDE. It has [list of features deleted]

    >
    > It is also huge, confusing, full of "advanced" features, and is
    > completely lacking in features that would help anyone to learn (with
    > the arguable exception of auto-completion). IMO it is not even
    > /slightly/ suitable for beginners[*].



    RIght---not even slightly so. You left out the fact that it is a quickly
    moving target to boot, but that by itself is not a sin.

    Actually, I've been mystified by eclipse since its very beginning. So
    popular has this thing been that I've had to force myself to use it to see
    if there really is something that I was missing. I've hated it from the
    beginning till now, and every stinking day in between, but am so afraid that
    I must be missing something that I still use /only/ either it or a non-IDE
    vi-javac-java-repeat cycle. I have to say that in all this time, and I've
    used many different IDE's over the years, that eclipse is the least friendly
    and least intuitive of the lot.

    What I've discovered though is that when I raise such complaints, even with
    complete examples as to why I find it hard to understand (not just over
    usenet---conversationally as well), I am often met with a large emotional
    response.

    Eclipse, has somehow won over the /hearts/ of the engineers using it.


    > For the OP, BlueJ /is/ designed for beginners. More specifically, it
    > is designed for use by people who are learning to program, and
    > learning how to think OO. I've never taught, with or without BlueJ,
    > so I can't recommend it from personal experience, but the approach
    > they take looks extremely promising to me.
    >
    > -- chris
    >
    > ([*] I'm not so sure that it's particularly suitable for anyone else
    > either. I use it myself -- as the least bad option available within
    > my budget -- but I don't like it much)




    --
    Everythinginlifeisrealative.Apingpongballseemssmalluntilsomeoneramsitupyournose.
    Thomas G. Marshall, May 5, 2005
    #17
  18. Thomas G. Marshall wrote on 05.05.2005 17:21:
    > Actually, I've been mystified by eclipse since its very beginning. So
    > popular has this thing been that I've had to force myself to use it to see
    > if there really is something that I was missing. I've hated it from the
    > beginning till now, and every stinking day in between, but am so afraid that
    > I must be missing something that I still use /only/ either it or a non-IDE
    > vi-javac-java-repeat cycle. I have to say that in all this time, and I've
    > used many different IDE's over the years, that eclipse is the least friendly
    > and least intuitive of the lot.
    >
    > What I've discovered though is that when I raise such complaints, even with
    > complete examples as to why I find it hard to understand (not just over
    > usenet---conversationally as well), I am often met with a large emotional
    > response.
    >

    I can understand that. My primary IDE is NetBeans and I'm giving Eclipse a
    try every now and then. Each time I dump it after several attempts to use
    it. I feel it's utterly complex and disturbing to use. It might be because
    I'm used to NetBeans and I can't get the right way of using Eclipse

    Thomas
    Thomas Kellerer, May 5, 2005
    #18
  19. hiwa

    Daniel Dyer Guest

    On Thu, 05 May 2005 16:21:23 +0100, Thomas G. Marshall
    <> wrote:
    >
    > Actually, I've been mystified by eclipse since its very beginning. So
    > popular has this thing been that I've had to force myself to use it to
    > see
    > if there really is something that I was missing. I've hated it from the
    > beginning till now, and every stinking day in between, but am so afraid
    > that
    > I must be missing something that I still use /only/ either it or a
    > non-IDE
    > vi-javac-java-repeat cycle. I have to say that in all this time, and
    > I've
    > used many different IDE's over the years, that eclipse is the least
    > friendly
    > and least intuitive of the lot.



    So I'm not the only one? I too have tried several times to get into
    Eclipse without ever getting hooked. People tell me of its great features
    but I've never seen them because I've usually uninstalled it within 15
    minutes of firing it up because using it makes me angry.

    NetBeans would be OK if it had a more intelligent editor, decent
    code-generation (getters, setters, constructors, etc.), better refactoring
    and wasn't so slow.

    Compare these to IDEA, which is powerful, fast and very helpful without
    getting in the way, and it's clear that sometimes you do get what you pay
    for.

    Dan.

    --
    Daniel Dyer
    http://www.footballpredictions.net
    Daniel Dyer, May 5, 2005
    #19
  20. hiwa

    David Segall Guest

    "Thomas G. Marshall"
    <> wrote:

    [snip]
    >Actually, I've been mystified by eclipse since its very beginning. So
    >popular has this thing been that I've had to force myself to use it to see
    >if there really is something that I was missing. I've hated it from the
    >beginning till now, and every stinking day in between, but am so afraid that
    >I must be missing something that I still use /only/ either it or a non-IDE
    >vi-javac-java-repeat cycle. I have to say that in all this time, and I've
    >used many different IDE's over the years, that eclipse is the least friendly
    >and least intuitive of the lot.
    >
    >What I've discovered though is that when I raise such complaints, even with
    >complete examples as to why I find it hard to understand (not just over
    >usenet---conversationally as well), I am often met with a large emotional
    >response.
    >
    >Eclipse, has somehow won over the /hearts/ of the engineers using it.

    I agree, but then I feel exactly the same way about vi.
    David Segall, May 5, 2005
    #20
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