Let’s bring on some big iron for building Java GUI desktop apps and see how it runs, shall we?
In everything that follows, for brevity I’ll just assume everything is as of 24th Feb, 2009 and that you’re running Windows XP. Make allowances where that assumption doesn’t apply to you. And.. this is a “rank-beginner’s” tutorial, so be mindful that it’s intended to be a bit pedantic. :-)
There are several IDEs (Integrated Development Environments) for Java in common use, including Netbeans, IntelliJ, Oracle’s JDeveloper, and Eclipse. Eclipse is open-source (so it’s free) and is a very capable tool. This article is intended to get you quickly from zero to that point where you have a working Java GUI desktop application running.
Point your browser to Eclipse.org
There’s a big yellow button that says: “Get Started Now… Download Eclipse”. Click here (or upon whatever takes you to the downloads page.
There are a few different packages of the Eclipse IDE. One of the selections here is “Eclipse IDE for Java Developers”. Click on the link for your operating system on the right (in this article I’m assuming you’re using Windows XP). Pick one of the mirror sites and start your download. The file I got is eclipse-java-ganymede-SR1-win32.zip, 85 megabytes. In 2007 when I did this the file was “europa”. Cute.
In harmony with our previous article, why don’t we put this file into C:\Java . That way all your Java stuff is still within one folder. When you un-zip the file it puts it in C:\Java\eclipse . There is no “installation” program for Windows. Your executable is C:\Java\eclipse\eclipse.exe — I’d suggest right-click dragging that out onto your Windows Desktop to create a shortcut, and perhaps another shortcut on your Windows Taskbar, just for kicks n giggles.
Now, I would suggest you play with this a bit. Your initial opening screen in Eclipse, the first time you launch it, will have some unlabelled icons. You can see what they are by hovering your mouse over them. Click on the one that says “Tutorial” and go through that, to learn how to use this thing. In my next post we’ll start building a GUI application.