I was wondering if anyone could tell me the best way to start learning the java programing language? Are there any free programs i can download to help me practice? I am going to be going into computer engineering and want to get a head start with programing and i heard java is simpler than others to learn with. I would appreciate any info on programming. Thanks

the "easiest" way is probably to download an IDE like eclipse since it has good support for common Java practices (e.g. autocomplete). BUT I wouldn't necessarily say it is the best way to learn Java. if you are to get the best out of it, I would recommend downloading the Java JDK and trying to compile / run code through the command-line interface.

look at this
I would recommend not to start with an IDE since their 'utilities' may make it easy to develop, but that doesn't mean it's a better way to learn.

if you do want an IDE, check out JCreator, it does all you need when you're a starter, but doesn't autocomplete your code, so you'll have to do the most programming yourself.

The "easiest" way to "dumb" programming is to download an IDE for a langauge when you are an infant in it. An IDE would pamper you with most things that should absolutely be not given to you at this stage. Take a look at the sticky at the top of this forum, it's made for people just like you, download the JDK, download the javadocs, write programs in an editor like the notepad or a minimal feature IDE, compile them in the command shell, solve errors by trying to figure out whats wrong while always keeping returning back to the docs, write countless programs and you will be on track.

Does w3schools even mentiod Java as far as im aware its a web programming site.

Link number 5, didn't you read responses to this thread that suggested you do not use an IDE like NetBeans.

Read the sticky at the top and get started,
a good link is http://java.sun.com/docs/books/tutorial/

Also, I think that http://www.javabat.com has quite a few nice things that will get you to learn the basics of control structures etc...such as if's and loops.


Does w3schools even mentiod Java

No it does not, but seeing the person from whom the post comes, I cannot be surprised with that.

Thanks guys i will take a look at those.

I would have to agree that using an IDE like netbeans is not the best way to learn. I am very new to programming and the first language I am learning at my software development course is Java, however , personally I am very disappointed with the course and believe I would of been better off learning it at home in my own time, the reason I say this is because we (at course) are rushed through the fundamentals , when we started Java we were introduced to NetBeans straight away.
I noticed that when we started working with swing that a lot of code was being generated for us, raising the question I was answered with “it does it for you why would you want to do it yourself”, followed by just check what code is being written, which I did after each component had been added, unfortunately I was getting left behind the rest of the class so I gave it up. But now I come across a lot of problems I do not understand because of it.

I think it is best to use a text editor and write all the code yourself.
I wish to learn Java Programming because I wish to master it, I do not wish to learn it just to get a job and that is what I see in so many IT courses (where I am anyway) they teach just enough to get you a job.