The path to app/game development will be challenging and often frustrating, but it will be an extremely rewarding and satisfying process every step of the way.
So my advice to you is this: persevere and don't feel like you are in this alone. We will try to answer all the questions you may have in our Forums, and there are thousands of other readers who would be happy to help.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful journey.
Lesson #1-0: What is Java?
Java -- everyone's heard of it. But what is it really?
I'm not going to delve too deeply into Java details, as all of that information IS available online and you are here for one thing: app/game development.
All you need to know for now is that Java is both a programming language (that lets you communicate with computers) and a platform (that is driven by a virtual machine that interprets all of your code).
Java was designed to be everywhere -- in phones, cars, computers, and any other object that is computerized. The developers promised that you would be able to write one program that will run on any device that runs the Java platform. This promise kind of fell short, as Java did not proliferate the world's electronics devices at the rate and the extent people expected; however, a few years ago, Android came along, and this open source platform began to do what Java could not. Android devices started making their ways into cars, desktops, tablets, phones, refrigerators, and more recently, Nexus Q's (update: cancelled). Who knows what else in the future?
Well, Java will be the primary language of all Android app/game development that we will cover (at least in the predictable future), so this is why we will start with Java.
If you already know how to do something that I cover in a lesson, feel free to skip it! I will try to make this guide cumulative, yet easy to incorporate into what you already know.
Now we setup our development environment. I realize this is the most boring part of app/game development... bear with me here and don't be discouraged! This is important!
*One final note* : The following instructions are for Mac and Windows.
Lesson #1-1: Downloading Java and Eclipse.
Before we can do any sort of Java programming, we must first prepare our development machine!
To install Java Development Kit (JDK - it lets you create java programs), follow the following steps:
Mac users: Most likely, Java is pre-installed on your computer. Skip this. Optionally, check out this link:https://www.java.com/en/download/help/mac_java_update.xml
1. Here's the link to the download (To people reading this guide in the far future: if the following link no longer functions, search for JDK on Google. If Google no longer exists, I don't know... try Bing??).
2. Once you are there, look for "Java SE 7uXX (where XX is any current version... it was 21 when I downloaded it in the image below)" , click Download below JDK.
3. Below Java SE Development Kit 7uXX, look for YOUR operating system and version to download the corresponding JDK.
Note: Windows x86 refers to 32-bit, while Windows x64 refers to 64-bit.
You can check this information by right clicking on My Computer (or Computer), properties, and you should see your type next to System type.
Now we must download Eclipse, the IDE. Feel free to look up more information on Eclipse, but once you begin programming, you will easily understand what its awesome capabilities are.
Eclipse will compile your code, let you export your code, help you correct your code, organize it, etc.
It's extremely useful and very powerful!
1. Follow this link to the Eclipse.org's download page:
2. Download the corresponding version of Eclipse. Eclipse Standard will be fine here.
Lesson #1-2: Setting up Eclipse:
1. Upon starting Eclipse, it will ask you where you want to place your "workspace."
Your workspace is where all of your resources, code, assets, etc. will be kept.
Choose a location that you will be able to access easily.
2. Once that happens, you will see a welcome screen like so:
Day 1: Summarized
Today, we discussed Java and began setting up our developmental computers, installing both the JDK and Eclipse.
Tomorrow, we will write our first Java programs and discuss the meaning of Java jargon.