Since its creation about 16 years ago, Java has become ubiquitous. Developers appreciate its "write once, run anywhere" philosophy. If you want to start making use of Java and its many benefits, keep reading.
Before we begin, there are some words and phrases you should become familiar with. Don't worry, I won't make you spell them in front of the class; my chalkboard is already full from the last class.
Computer Program: Simply put, a computer program is a set of instructions put together that tells your computer what to do. Programs can range in complexity from simple mathematical equations to launching a space shuttle into orbit.
Programming Language: Just as you speak a language to communicate with the people around you, your computer requires you to speak a certain language to it. (Note: Do not actually speak to your computer; it won't speak back). In this case, the language is Java.
Compiler: This takes your programming language, translates it into a lingo the computer can understand and creates an executable file that allows your program to run.
We'll review some other terms later. For now, let's start you off on your first program. Traditionally, your first program, no matter what language you choose, prints the words, “Hello World!” to your screen. But you are going to one day write programs that launch space shuttles, so for you, the program will be a gritty, in your face, “Goodbye Cruel World.”