There are many options for Java development environments, ranging from the traditional text editor and command-line tools to a whole slew of advanced IDEs, including IBM's Eclipse, Sun's NetBeans, and Borland's JBuilder. (Both Eclipse and NetBeans are open source projects and can be downloaded for free as well as found on the CD-ROM accompanying this book.) The examples in this book were developed using Sun's no-frills Java Development Kit (JDK) on, at various times, Solaris, Windows, and Mac OS X platforms. The JDK includes the basic tools needed to compile, run, and package Java applications, and we will describe these tools in this chapter. But there is no reason you can't use your preferred IDE to follow along with the examples in this book. The source code for all of the examples can be found on the CD-ROM.
For an introduction to the Eclipse IDE and instructions for loading all of the examples in this book as an Eclipse project, see Appendix A. In Chapter 22, we introduce the NetBeans IDE with our discussion of the JavaBeans component architecture, so you will get little GUI development environment flavor there.