My first eclipse

I haven’t used Java much in the last 10 years since I left university. I figure it’s been long enough that I should see how the platform has progressed. Eclipse is one of, or possibly the most popular IDE for Java, so I’ll conduct my unscientific study of Java with it.

‘Create a Java Project’ seems like a natural first step. What version of Java should I choose? What’s the difference between J2SE and JavaSE? Is a Java Project similar to a Visual Studio solution file or is it more similar to a Visual Studio project file? Is there an equivalent to a Visual Studio solution file? That’s a scary number of questions considering I haven’t even begun.

J2SE and JavaSE

Java underwent naming changes recently. They removed the ‘2’ from the name and increased the focus on Java. This guy summarizes it nicely: J2SE vs JavaSE . So that’s my first question answered.

Eclipse Java Project == VS solutions || VS projects?

A great article describing the differences (and then some) is here. Eclipse workspace is somewhat analogous to a VS solution. Eclipse workspace folder structures must match the file system exactly. Unix symbolic links provides most of the flexibility that you would normally have with VS.  To support many different languages Eclipse has the notion of ‘Natures’.  A Java Project has a Java nature which compiles the Java files into .class files. As such a Java Project is roughly the same as a Visual Studio projet.


  • Eclipse’s Local History is a very cool feature… basically ‘undo on crack’ to the point that it supports version control-like comparison.
  • There is no Compile button?! Apparently Eclipse incrementally compiles Java code and has no Compile button. Ah newer versions of Eclipse have an optional compile button.
  • The menus and icons take some getting used to. I find the widgets and panel controls are taking some getting used to after coming from Visual Studio. I currently seem to have some big empty tabs open and I’m not sure how to get rid of them.
  • I create a Java SE 1.7 project and it didn’t seem to have references setup correctly. I think I might not have it installed, which is causing the problems.
  • Hello World is easy to get going. How to create JAR files, use Maven, JUnit or use multiple projects is beyond me.
  • GitHub for Mac was straight forward to setup.

Final Comments

Hello World in Java was straight forward as to be expected. Next up, will be creating jars, JUnit, Maven and something a cool buzz word like Cassandra.

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