Experience with my new Java environment thus far

I was asked in a feedback item about my thoughts on Eclipse.  Let me preface with what I’m about to say is that as far as free development environments go, Eclipse is nice.  I’d even say it’s very nice.

With that said, I spent a good portion of the day yesterday downloading JDK 1.5, Tomcat 5.5 and Eclipse 3.01.  Some observations:

1. The Java community needs to make it more clear for folks like me on what exactly they need.  Case in point, both Tomcat and Eclipse claim they need a JRE.  In reality, what you really need is a JDK.  And Sun is none to clear on which one you need either, gladly offering you both side by side to download.  So, mistake number one was downloading just a JRE and having untold amounts of problems getting things to work.  Once I caught on that I needed the JDK, things got better.  I’m sure folks who do Java for a living would say, “Duh!  Of course you need the JDK.”  I’d offer back that for the unaquainted, it’s not real obvious.

2. There’s too many cooks in the pot.  I had to go to Sun to get my JDK.  I had to go to apache.org to get Tomcat.  I had to go to Eclipse to get my editor.  Then, once I had all of this installed, I discovered that Eclipse by itself doesn’t do much more for me other than let me build Java applications or applets.  Nothing about Web applications.  This prompted a search whereupon I came across MyEclipse.  Let me say this, I think I’m more impressed with MyEclipse than I am with Eclipse itself.  I may even pop the $30 or so to buy MyEclipse.

3. Building on #2, I assume that I could get everything I need from Sun in SunONE.  Only problem is, I don’t know *anyone* I interact with using SunONE!

So, last night I dusted off my Java langauge skills and wrote a couple of classes and some JSPs.  I quickly remembered that <jsp:useBean> is not my friend.  Pinging some friends of mine, I’ve heard that Java Server Faces are an ASP.NET clone and something I should consider if I’m going to do more Web applications.  Great.  Another download.

Tonight I thought I’d expand my horizons a bit and create some Java Web services.  Once they’re running, my hope was to get them talking to .NET Framework clients.  Then, have my .NET Framework Web services consumed by my Java clients …

A hour later, I still haven’t figured out what I need to create a Web service in Java.  And Google – the savior of all programmers such as myself – is of little help.  I’m learned enough to know that formal Web services support was introduced in J2EE 1.4 – yet I haven’t a clue as to how to get started.  [Yes, I know that my Tomcat enviornment is *not* a J2EE environment.  I’m hoping that the Web services support is present in J2SE and I don’t need to throw on a full blown J2EE stack to do this.)  It appears to me that Sun has a Web Services development pack.  Another download.  However, it doesn’t appear to like my JDK 1.5 installation.  Then there’s things like glue, Apache Axis, etc.  You guessed it.  Another download.

I’m going to keep plugging along tonight and see what I can get going.  If anyone reading this has good Java knowledge in the Web services arena … gimme a shout.

Comments (5)

  1. randomjotter says:


    You get my vote. I used to go through the same stuff while working on the products you mentioned above plus MySql. Things need to improve a lot in newbie zone. But thing is once you get everything running, it means you are already a level above others and feel *bit* great. That way some Java/Open Source is still a bit elitist.

  2. SjH says:

    IBM have a set of web tools for Eclipse available at http://www.eclipse.org/webtools/initial-contribution/IBM/Getting%20Started.html.

    It’s more downloads (some reasonably large ones, too) and, when installed, slows down Eclipse a bit, but the additional editors work (and the structured XML is a godsend) and there is support for generating Web Service.


  3. Brian Bero says:

    Welcome to the wonderful world of Java! I’ve had the honor of developing a few Web Services projects using the J2EE platform and you certainly have to get your hands dirty. Since you’re trying to avoid using the full blown J2EE stack – which you can – you just have do a jump through a few more hoops.

    Here’s a link to a tutorial that should help you out:


  4. Greg S says:

    There are commercial vendors that gladly sell you everything in one nice integrated package. IBM is just one of them with their WSAD. It has it all: JDK, Eclipse, WebSphere, webservices. So, if you are into getting everything at once you can go that route.

  5. I don’t disagree at all, Greg. I was just wanting to go the open source route to see how the non-commerical software side of the world lives.