** Update Feb - 2010 - there is an updated entry for this topic which covers 11g material instead of 10.1.3
Every now and then we get a question on the OTN forum that basically says: "I want to start learning development with JDeveloper (and ADF) where do I start?"
So I figured I'll write down my canned answer here and in the future I can just point people to this entry.
First step -
Learn the Java language (at least the syntax) - while it might seem that you can do a lot in JDeveloper without coding any Java line - at one point or another you will need to code - so start by picking up your favorite "Java for dummies in 7 days with no previous knowledge" type of book and learn the basics of the language.
Don't have money to spend on an actual book try these two resources:
Thinking in Java - a good free online book
Sun's online tutorials
While you are learning the basics of the language - you can use JDeveloper as your coding/running/debugging environment.
To understand how to do this use the Introduction to the IDE Tutorial
ok, so you got the basics of the language down and you know how to do a loop and define new variables. Next, you probably want to start learning ADF as a way to simplify your overall development.
Start with the ADF Learning Page.
If you are just beginning with Java and/or coming from a Forms/Powerbuilder/VB type of development background. you should probably choose the left column to follow (this uses ADF Business Components - and will give you the most out of the box, no coding experience).
Start with the tutorial - which will take you about a day to complete - and will give you an impression of the development process and if you actually read the explanation in it and not just follow the step-by-step instructions you will also understand what you are doing and not just how you are doing things.
Here it is important to note that some people prefer to go to instructor lead type training. We have those as well.
This page has the Java/ADF course list: http://www.oracle.com/technology/products/jdev/collateral/training10g.html
You'll see there a basic Java course to help you learn the language, and another course which is called "OracleAS 10g R3: Oracle ADF for Forms/4GL Developers" - and is the ADF basics course.
Taking these two courses will get you approximately to the same place as the previous steps I detailed - although you'll probably have better understanding of ADF at this stage from the instructor lead training.
I should point here to two additional resources you might want to reference at this stage:
one is the "Oracle JDeveloper for Forms & PL/SQL Developers : A Guide to J2EE Web Development" book that you can buy on Amazon. As you'll see there it gets great reviews.
The other is the page we put in place for people coming from a Forms background trying to explain a lot of the JDev slang in Forms terms.
Now comes what I regard as the "must do step" - read through the ADF Developer Guide. After you played a bit with JDeveloper and ADF, this book will give you the inside scoop on what ADF does and how it does it.
It's a big book but it is worth reading it before you start doing any serious development - having the knowledge before you start to code will save you a lot of hours later on.
At this stage you should have quite a good foundation that will let you start developing your application. Once you do serious development you are sure to run into questions that weren't answered in your previous reading, this is where the OTN discussion forum alnog with all the blogs out there come into the picture as the source for the community knowledge.
Add to these the annual Oracle Develop conference which runs as part of Oracle Open World, and the other technical conferences such as ODTUG and IOUG and you have your learning experience complete.
Now it is time for you to start sharing the knowledge you have gathered and help the newbies - start a blog, do a presentation in a conference, post answers on the OTN forum, or just add entries to the Oracle Wiki and help build the JDeveloper community.