Monday, February 14, 2011

Java : Javanna Learn Java?

When we started this blog last September, one of our goals was to become more proficient in "shooping". In particular, we wanted to learn just-enough GIMP to improve the crappy appearance of the software we occasionally write.

Three months later, the GIMP thing had developed a life of its own. It was only after we spent a week creating the "Personal-Space Invaders" .GIF and found ourselves thinking "it would have been easier to write the game" that we remembered our original plan.

So, we've spent the past week or so learning the rudiments of Java and posting occasional test applets to see if it's possible to publish programs on blogger. Why Java? We want to use something that we can share with our readers, it's free, it's (kind of) portable and it's close enough to the vanilla C that we usually tinker in. Why not Flash? We'd all end up infected with McAfee malware.

For the next few weeks (until the Java ad revenue dries up), we'll be posting applets and very simple tutorials on Java programming. (They'll have to be simple - we're just learning too.) If you want to follow along, you'll need to install the Java Development Kit from oracle.com. We'll post about the problems we had installing JDK 6 Update 23 with NetBeans 6.9.1 on a Windows XP (SP2) laptop tomorrow.

This brings us on to a word of warning: Sun's (now Oracle's) Java products are flaky. Installers don't always install fully - they often require manual tinkering, updates are naggy and annoying, and the run-time software may crash your machine or make your browser unstable. So, if you're not planning to go along with the tutorials, and you have no desire to play Java games like Minecraft, you're probably better off not installing any Java components.

If you don't think you want to program but you would like to be able to view our applets, you'll need the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) from here. The JRE page has a link to other pages where you can test whether your Java installation is working and up to date: but the tests and troubleshooting guides are pretty useless for anything other than Windows XP/Vista/7.

 
For those choosing not to install Java, we'll try to remember to post a description of what the applet is doing, alongside the "no Java" button to the left.


A final warning: Java is "portable" in the sense that if you work really, really hard, you can make it run under enough browsers and operating systems to cover (say) 99% of your target audience. we're not going to work that hard. After updating all our system software, our scuttling crablet sort of kinda works on our Ubuntu (amd64) machine - but crashes the browser and scrambles the screen. We haven't managed to view it at all on our OSX 10.5.8 machine. So, the 1% of our regular readers who use Linux, and the rather larger proportion of you that use Macs, are likely to be disappointed.

Thankfully, very few of you use Internet Explorer, and none seem to be using the dreaded IE6. But, if you do try to view the applets with an old machine with an outdated Java Runtime Environment, we've no idea what you'll see. We'll leave the agonizing over backwards-compatibility to pony-tailed toss-pots who get paid to worry about such stuff.

In recognition of our sloppy attitude, we award ourselves, (and Sun/Oracle) this special
Certificate of Half-Assed Excellence.


Tomorrow we'll go over a few of the quirks we found when trying to install the JDK.

21 comments:

  1. Looking forward to the java tutorials :)

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  2. Looking forward tomorrow for the java update!

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  3. i approve of this certificate

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  4. That certificate is cracking me up! No pun intended!

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  5. I was wondering where it was going. I'm excited to see what you've got for us. Congratulations on your Certificate :)

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  6. sucioooo my man...and ftr i hate JAVA!

    Im BACK  >>HERE<< and  >>HERE<<

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  7. I would proudly display that certificate

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  8. Well Professor Sucio, I'm on board. I need to learn something new. Bring it on.
    (PS- what would be a Valentine song you like?)

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  9. This looks very interesting! I enjoyed your gimp program tutorials (till you got too crabby, I'm afraid I started losing interest). I started to learn java in high school but I started to get so confused at the work I gave up on it and just surfed the net the whole class. (And got a B- cause it was an experimental class, no one fails those)

    I'm not sure if I will learn along this time, but still interested in seeing what sorts of things you create with them. Maybe it'll peak my interest once again.

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  10. If I'm to believe my programming friends, Java is an unwieldy beast.

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  11. teach me the ways of the Java, good sir! I just need to download some software... legally of course 0.o

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  12. Will your half assed work in Firefox on Windows 7 64bit?

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  13. I think your certificate might have a hole in it.

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  14. nice, if you need any help, im about to start a java development for android applications. we could work in tandem.
    poetry

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  15. @ Poetry of the Day - I'll probably have some noob questions for you!

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