NetBeans 5.5.... EE5... BlueJ... Oh my!

I was out last week (it was winter break here in the US: most schools had a holiday) and ended up on a beach with no internet connection playing endless games of "Marco Polo" with my 8 year old. Such a hardship.

I missed out on last week's excitement of the preview releases of NetBeans 5.5 and Java EE 5.

This week is a little quieter, but I'm pretty charged up by the recent progress of the BlueJ project. It's a very specialized IDE for teaching people to program who have never programmed before. There's a textbook for it. It's been a pretty popular tool for teaching introductory computer science courses. They've had a bunch of stuff going at at SIGCSE this week. Friday evening there will be a reception where (among other things) folks will be showing off the interconnections between BlueJ and NetBeans so that as students become proficient they can easily migrate up to more sophisticated professional tools.

Comments:

I'm one of those students that is learning JAVA using BlueJ. At first, I was confused because I started out with one of those "more sophisticated professional tools" you was talking about (Eclipse). I noticed there was no MAIN METHOD! I was suprised and uneasy about the situation until after hours later, I've understood what was going on. BlueJ is nice to quicly test objects. Their UML diagrams could be more detailed but there's probably plugins for that, I'll have to look. Speaking of plugins, I'm still looking for an Eclipse plugin of BlueJ. Why not have the best of both worlds?

Posted by mojaam on March 02, 2006 at 08:29 AM PST #

Hi James BlueJ is easy to use. i like BlueJ too,in Taiwan just few people start to learn JAVA use BlueJ.

Posted by jameschih on March 02, 2006 at 07:16 PM PST #

Chistmas break, in February? Did you mean Presidents Day?

Posted by Ryan on March 02, 2006 at 10:37 PM PST #

I have tried with BlueJ, it is one the BEST tool for teachning OOPs concepts and Well designed application in JAVA... I just like it's feature rich interface!!

--
Balakumar Muthu
http://geocities.com/i5bala/java.htm

Posted by Balakumar Muthu on March 05, 2006 at 10:04 PM PST #

I had to use BlueJ in the begin of my studies and i don't like it. Some of the real beginners didn't learned anything expect use some GUI. It's horrible, when you hear a question like: "How could it get an instance of an Object?" after one year of studies. Maybe the current version is more usable then two years ago. But some of the users where really overextended with projects with main-Methods. In my mind it's to abstract for beginners.

Posted by Slawomir Messner on March 05, 2006 at 11:58 PM PST #

Well said Slawomir. BlueJ may be nice to teach OO concepts but it doesn't teach Java at all. By copious code generation and hiding implementation details (as one comment indicates, it apparently creates main methods behind the scenes to yield running applications from classes without even telling the user) it makes people think they know Java when in fact they know BlueJ.
That's pretty much the same gripe I have with many other IDEs when it comes to teaching languages, instead of learning the language the students learn the tool and will then be completely lost when presented with an environment in which that tool is unavailable.
I still suffer from that from time to time from having learned C++ using an IDE. Never learned to read and write makefiles as a result...

Posted by Jeroen Wenting on March 06, 2006 at 05:28 PM PST #

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