One of the reasons for Java's rapid growth is that Sun Microsystems has always makes the Java Software Development Kit (SDK) available at its Web site for free. All you need to develop Java programs is the SDK and a basic ASCII text editor like Windows Notepad.
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Getting Started as a Java Programmer

The Java programming language was developed by James Gosling at Sun Microsystems in December 1990. Gosling named the language Oak after a tree he could see out his office window. But after finding out that another product had already been named Oak, the name was changed to Java.

Java became popular because of its ability to create programs called "applets" that run on a Web page. Today, Java has become a popular general-purpose programming language used by big companies like IBM and NASA.

Java is a cross-platform language, which means a Java program that you develop on your Windows computer can run without modification on Linux, Macintosh, and most other systems.

Java is an object-oriented language, which means a program is conceptualized as a group of separate objects that interact with each other. An object contains data representing properties of the object and methods for manipulating the data.

One of the reasons for Java's rapid growth is that Sun Microsystems has always made the Java Software Development Kit (SDK) available at its Web site for free. All you need to develop Java programs is the SDK and a basic ASCII text editor like Windows Notepad.

Download the Java SDK

You can download the SDK from Sun Microsystems Web site at: Download the Java SDK

The Sun Microsystems Web site has many products available. Be sure to download the "Java 2 Software Development Kit, Standard Edition". The current version as of this writing is version 1.4. Click on the "Accept" button at the bottom of the Web page to accept the Sun Microsystems, Inc. Binary Code License Agreement. The downloaded file name will be j2sdk-1_4_0_02-windows-i586.exe. The filesize is 37 Mb.

Before installing the Java SDK, close all other windows. To install the Java SDK, double-click on the downloaded file or select Run in the Start menu and navigate to the downloaded file. The SDK setup program will appear.

Set Environment Variables

After the setup program installs the Java SDK, you need to set a couple of environment variables. To set up the environment variables on Windows 95/98/Me, use Notepad to open the AUTOEXEC.BAT file at the root of the C: drive and edit the path command to include the path to the Java SDK. For example, if your path was:

PATH=c:\windows;c:\command

change it to:

SET PATH=c:\windows;c:\command;c:\j2sdk1.4.0_02\bin

Next, just below the PATH comman line add the line shown below.

SET CLASSPATH=.;C:\j2sdk1.4.0_02\lib\tools.jar

Next you need to either execute the autoexec.bat file, or just restart your computer to make the new environment variables take effect.

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