MSc Java Workshop
Welcome to the pages for the MSc Software Workshop at the School of Computer Science. You should bookmark this page as you will need to refer to this site frequently throughout the course.
New material will be updated as the course continues, week by week. You will be able to find these in the following sections.
If you get stuck, the first port of call is research. Here are some links which will help you get started, and access to resources to help build confidence around this subject.
- Coding Bat Java Challenges A series of Java challenges, you can try in the browser, and then see your performance tested straight away. Useful for getting in a few extra hours practice, on some puzzlers.
- Facebook Group! Discuss problems and content with other people on this course, on our Facebook group. You can find it here.
- Java Library Documentation: On this course, we use primarily use Java 1.6 SE. The API (Application Programming Interface) reference contains information about the built in Java SDK (Software Development Kit) library code. You will need this when you start to use library code. You will also learn how to create an API, like the java one, for your own code.
- Java Style: Java is a High-Level, Object Oriented Language, however you're code still needs to be easy to read. As a result there are many conventions, and guide lines, on how to write readable code that is easy to understand.
- Documenting Java Code: Any code you write should be documented. Java advocates a particular structure of documentation, which the Javadoc tool can automatically turn into API reference documents (such as those mentioned above). This overview on how to structure code documentation for Javadoc provides the essentials. The Javadoc documentation provides full details, and finally there are guidelines on how to describe, inside such documentation comments, the actual behaviour of your program.
- Java Trails: The Java Trails are a set of tutorials maintained by Oracle, the current Java developers. They are designed to get you programming Java from scratch, including lots of worked examples. They have been updated to cover Java 7, the latest version of Java, which is slightly newer that the version we run in labs, so be warned that some features they describe are not available for use in the School (e.g. switch statements on Strings).
- Common Java errors: When you compile code, you will often encounter errors, some of which you may find difficult to interpret. This page may help you understand what some of the common error messages mean, and how to fix your code to overcome these.
- SVN: Later on in the course you will use SVN repositories for storing your code. Version control keeps a track of the changes that you make and allow a team of people to work a project or piece of code at the same time.
- JUnit: We use JUnit 4 for testing. Our JUnit cheatsheet explains the very basics. You may find further information on the JUnit homepage. Initially we will be using JUnit from the command line, but note that integrated development environments such as Eclipse also have built-in JUnit support.
- Downloading Java Software Development Kit: If you wish you can download the Java Software Development Kit for use on your own computer for free from the SUN Java website JDK Download, choose "Java SE Development Kit (JDK)". However, we can not answer question about getting Java working on your own computer and strongly recommend you use the lab computers to complete your exercises. Your code may not work if you create it in a different environment to where you expect to run it, some of your exercises may be demonstrated in the lab and must work on lab machines.
Linux: The lab machines use the open source Linux Operating System,
as opposed to more popular operating systems such as Microsoft Windows or Apple OSX.
If you are considering using Linux at home the distribution of Linux used in the labs is
CentOS 5 but you might well find
Ubuntu to be a more user friendly Linux Distribution.
There is usually a Linux install party every year in the student common room,
where other students will help you with all aspects of installing Linux on your own computer
(we will let you know about this on the blog).
There is a short course on Unix available here.