Guest Post: 10 Things You Should Know Before Learning Java

Today's guest post is from Lucy Hunt. She wanted to let my readers know the steps to take before getting into basic web programming.

This is an important lesson for web entrepreneurs that are looking to take that leap into the more technical side of the business.

If Java is a completely new concept to you, there are certain need-to-know points that all beginners should be aware of. This will give you a head start, helping you to understand the basic facts before you explore the possibilities of computer programming.

1. What is Java?
Java is a programming language and computer platform that is widely-used across the globe. Many websites use Java, which means that if you don’t have Java runtime environment downloaded on your device, your browsing experience will be significantly hindered.

2. Learning the terminology
Computer programming has its own vocabulary that you will need to come to grips with. For example, a ‘computer program’ is a set of instructions for your computer which, if written correctly, will produce the results you are aiming for. Just like a spoken language, ‘programming languages’ use their own words (or ‘code’) to convey certain concepts. This will enable your computer to understand what you wish to achieve.

3. Downloading the compiler
A programming language must be translated into a configuration that the computer can ‘execute’. This is done by using a ‘compiler’, which must be downloaded and installed onto your device. The Java compiler is a vital function, and will translate human-readable Java language into a form that can be read by your computer.

4. Java applets
The best way to get started is to create a Java ‘applet’. This is a program written in Java code that can be run in a web browser. It can also be embedded within an HTML page. Applets are particularly helpful for those learning the basics of Java, and will prove useful even as you progress onto more advanced programming. Applets may be employed for a variety of reasons, such as interactive components on a website, scrolling text or games.

5. Java applications
It is important to remember that applets differ from Java applications, which run from your computer as a stand-alone program. This makes them much more complex.

6. Bugs
When you begin to write in code, it is probable that you will make a few errors along the way. Such mistakes are known as ‘bugs’. However, bugs simply means that your computer does not understand the instructions you are giving it. Either it will not compile whatsoever, or it will continue to execute, but produce an undesired result.

7. Debugging
To ensure you are to obtain error-free code, you must get used to the practice of ‘debugging’. This can be a frustrating process at first, as finding bugs can be a time-consuming process. Nevertheless, it is essential if you are going to use computer programming.

8. Looping
To make your life a little easier, it is possible to repeat sequential blocks of code. This is known as ‘looping’, and makes the task of duplicating repetitive code much simpler.

9. Variables
If you wish to store data to use at a later date, you can do so with ‘variables’. There are different types of variable that you can use to declare different tasks – for example, you can declare one variable for names and one for numbers.

10. Java training courses
While Java is one of the most popular computing programs throughout the world, it can seem like a foreign language to those who have had no experience. If so, you may find training courses that work towards a Java certification helpful. This will give you the chance to explore the ins and outs of Java, before gaining a qualification that declares your capabilities.