Chapter 3. Tools of the Trade

There are many options for Java development environments, ranging from the traditional text editor and command-line tools to a whole slew of advanced IDEs, including IBM’s Eclipse, Sun’s NetBeans, and Borland’s JBuilder. (Both Eclipse and NetBeans are open source projects and can be downloaded for free.) The examples in this book were developed using Sun’s no-frills Java Development Kit (JDK) on, at various times, Solaris, Windows, and Mac OS X platforms. The JDK includes the basic tools needed to compile, run, and package Java applications, and we will describe these tools in this chapter. But there is no reason you can’t use your preferred IDE to follow along with the examples in this book.

For an introduction to the Eclipse IDE and instructions for loading all of the examples in this book as an Eclipse project, see Appendix A. In Chapter 22, we introduce the NetBeans IDE with our discussion of the JavaBeans component architecture, so you will get little GUI development environment flavor there.

The Java VM

A Java virtual machine (VM) is software that implements the Java runtime system and executes Java applications. It can be a standalone application like the java program that comes with the JDK or part of a larger application like a browser. Usually the interpreter itself is a native application, supplied for each platform, which then bootstraps other tools written in the Java language. Tools such as Java compilers and IDEs are often implemented ...

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