General Question

MetroGnome217's avatar

Can someone explain Java?

Asked by MetroGnome217 (311 points ) May 23rd, 2010

Hey guys. For some reason, My guidance counselor enrolled me in a java class next year. I have NO idea what java is and what it can do.
Can someone help me here

What is Java?
What can it do?
How do you use it?
Is it difficult?
Do you recommend it?

any other info would be great. Also I have tries to read the offcial site, but I could not make sence of it, so please dont link there

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15 Answers

HungryGuy's avatar

1) A programming language
2) Create web sites
3) You write programming statements and pass them to a Java interpreter on a Web server
4) Yes. Very!
5) No. Apps written in Java are very error prone. PHP is easier to program in, and less error prone. Though if you know Java and are good at it, you can pretty much write your own ticket…

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

Errrm… If you don’t know what Java is, you probably want to get out of that class.

To put it simply, Java is a programming language. It’s pretty powerful, but you can often find it in the form of little games or elements on web pages. Have you ever seen pictures like this where you get a wavy, animated reflection on the bottom? That’s a common example of Java in action.

Unless you’re very dedicated, detail-oriented and passionate about computer programming, I think you’re going to have difficulty with Java. It’s basically all text based. Are you in high school or university? Depending on which, the class may or may not be catered to people who know little about programming. You may end up with several other classmates who know nothing about programming, or you may end up being the only one who hasn’t already had previous experience with computer programming. That can really make or break a class – whether your classmates and professor will be willing to help you out with all this complicated stuff.

I’m sorry if this post scares you! ^^;

jerv's avatar

Yes, but not me.

I can give you a few bullet points though.

Java is a programming language that is both cross-platform and object-oriented. Now, an object-oriented programming language (OOP) is a little funny to wrap your head around at first but then something in your head wil usually snap and either it will make perfect sense or you will go totally insane.

As @ParaParaYukiko states, it isn’t exactly n00b-friendly; you have to walk before you run. While I would recommend it overall, I would only do so if you already have a little bit of rior knowledge of programming.

BTW – Java and Javascript are totally different things ;)

MetroGnome217's avatar

@ParaParaYukiko @jerv
I am a high school student
is there anyway to get started early to see if I like it?

jaytkay's avatar

@MetroGnome217

Before we make recommendations, do you have experience with other programming languats?

filmfann's avatar

it is also a coffee, and an island East of Krakatowa

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

@MetroGnome217 You could get a book like Beginning Programming with Java for Dummies and try studying it on your own before school starts.

MetroGnome217's avatar

No real experience, I can use SCRATCH hahah

jerv's avatar

@MetroGnome217 I may not be the best person to ask. See, I was programming in BASIC when I was 7, and that was back when the Apple ][ and TRS-80 were the most common machines around. By the time I got to high school, I had mostly shifted towards the hardware end of things and largely let my programming skills slide in favor of keeping up with the latest hardware specs, and that was long enough ago that you were probably still in diapers. My point is that I already had the basics before I was half your age, so I really can’t think of how to start later on in life like you are doing.

However , I can make a few guesses. I would think that if you have zero programming experience, you will need something like a Dummies book to get started. You may also be a little discouraged at first since the learning curve is a little steep for those with zero experience, bit it’s not insurmountable. The hardest part really is the shock. OOP was a new paradigm for me, but at least you have the advantage of not having to un-learn some things so it’s a wash.

nisse's avatar

You use it by first typing a program (for example with a text editor like notepad). A simple program can look like this:

class myfirstjavaprog
{
public static void main(String args[])
{
System.out.println(“Hello World!”);
}}

What this program does is just type out “hello world”.

Next you save your program as myfirstjavaprog.java.
Next you need to run your program. You probably already have java installed if you have a windows computer, so to do this just run the dos-prompt, change directory to the folder where you saved it and do “java myfirstprog”.

funkdaddy's avatar

A high school programming class isn’t going to assume any previous knowledge and will teach you everything you need to know from the start. If you’re at all interested in computers, programming, or how things work this will be a great introduction. Java can be complex, but if it’s broken into individual concepts and lessons you’ll be able to pick it up and make sense of all that gibberish.

Java can introduce you to just about all the major concepts of programming and you can use those in most other languages. It may not be the easiest place to start, but it’ll show you the right way to do things and teach you good habits. Just remember there are easier languages out there, it’s not always that tedious to get started.

You’ll do great, enjoy the learning portion and if it’s something you like doing explore some of the other language options out there that might be a little more specific to the task you want to accomplish.

Laina's avatar

I took Java (gr11 course) and am currently taking Java (gr12). Last year I also took Turing, so programming wasn’t completely new to me. Java11 was really fun – drawing pictures, animations, little Console programs that were fun (and easy). I am now kicking myself for listening to my teacher and taking the gr12 course. It focuses on more real-world problems, databases, layouts, stuff with frames and panels, and now I find myself completely lost. I recommend taking the gr11 if you’re into that kind of thing, but unless you really do well in gr11, I wouldn’t recommend the gr12 course.
geez, I hope my teacher doesn’t read this

NRO's avatar

Always, it’s “hello, world!”

LostInParadise's avatar

I am a Microsoft .Net programmer. I decided to go with .Net instead of Java, because at the time there was not much in the way of graphical user interfaces for Java programmers. I believe that there now are some, but the Java programmers here will be able to tell you more about them. It makes a big difference, especially when you are just starting out. With a decent graphical interface, it is easy to create a program with buttons, dropdown lists and text boxes. After working with some simple programs, you can decide if you want to continue.

If you decide to get serious, you will, as @jerv points out, need to learn about object oriented programming, and at some point you will almost certainly need to learn about database programming, but this is further down the line.

talljasperman's avatar

I took Java in university… I was the only person in the class who didn’t already completely know how to use it… So for me I had no one to help me… I did the first two drills then stopped learning after chapter 1… It’s very hard and complicated especially if you are used to programming in Qbasic or Pascal like I was when I failed the class, with a 1 out of 9…I kept the textbook and I show new people it every time they also stop at chapter 2….JavaScript was fun but completely different than Java.

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