I'm going to begin school for CS in a couple of months, and am trying to get started with some of the material on my own. I need to learn some Java; I've done a bit of C++ in the past. The prof sent me an email saying at school we would compile our code on Unix, but at home we could use anything we want for writing/testing code.
I downloaded some stuff from the Sun website, but it seems the process is somewhat obtuse: type in notepad, open a command prompt, bla bla bla. I remember doing C++ on visual studio--there was none of that -- just wonderfully friendly colors, nice help topics, and big buttons that basically said "make the thing happen (without having a clue what's actually going on)." So I downloaded Netbeans, which is pretty cool -- similar to what I was used to.
However, I wonder if this will actually allow me to learn the things I need to learn. What does it actually mean to "learn Java?" Write some code and push the button? Or is it more? Something tells me it's much, much more. Will an IDE like Netbeans stunt my growth? Will corners be cut that actually ought to be inspected?
Thanks in advance for any thoughts...