JSP and Beyond

a pragmatic primer on building web-based solutions with Java technologies


In order to speed our development process we have the luxury of being able to use an Integrated Development Environment (IDE). Some purists might say that IDEs hold people back from learning about what really occurs when you build an application. Unfortunately, I think that this viewpoint stems from the insecurity that they feel due to the tremendous power of IDEs today opening the development of applications to a greater range of users who have little interest in memorizing every class and it methods, but instead want to focus on solving the business problem at hand.

If I were going to run a marathon, wouldn’t I want to have the best shoes? If I were going to race cars, wouldn’t I want to have the best automobile? This book is all about practicality and creating solutions to problems, not spending all day trying to do things in cryptic, archaic ways.

We are therefore going to be pragmatic and give ourselves the best shoes, the best car and get building! Here are some powerful IDEs that can help you start to make the most of your experience building solutions.

NetBeans is a free IDE from Sun Microsystems. It is a great tool for letting developers quickly get into Java development, as it comes packaged with a built-in Java Application Server preconfigured to run your projects, and is aware of syntax for web application development immediately out-of-the-box. I highly recommend this IDE for working with the samples that we will review over the course of this book.

You can learn more about this IDE and download it at http://www.netbeans.org/.

Eclipse is a powerful open source IDE. Once you become more familiar with Java development it might be worthwhile giving it a try. Eclipse has been developed to be extensible and there are now a wide series of “plugins” that enable various features within the development environment. A series of examples can be found at http://www.eclipse.org/projects/. Some organizations offer a preloaded version of Eclipse with plugins to assist with Java web development that offers a quick, easy method to get started. One such example is Lomboz which can be downloaded at http://lomboz.objectweb.org/.

Many large software organizations that used to build their own IDEs (BEA and IBM) discontinued their tools and now ship components called plugins that run inside of Eclipse and provide that same functionality.

You can learn more about and download this IDE at http://www.eclipse.org/.