Getting Stanford's "Karel the Robot" to Run in Debian's Eclipse

I'm taking Stanford's Open Courseware "Programming Methodology" this semester, but I got stumped early on by the problem of setting up the special Stanford class libraries in my Debian-standard Eclipse installation. The instructions and files available from the website are only available for Windows and Macintosh platforms. The process is not that hard, but if you're new to Java and Eclipse (and especially if you are new to programming, as the class assumes), you'll likely be thrown by this. I couldn't find any documentation on how to do this after extensive searching, so here it is.

Moving to an IDE for programming (Eclipse with PyDev)

In the past, I've always shied away from integrated development environments (IDEs), but I recently had a strong enough motivation to finally learn how to use Eclipse -- one of the most widely-used free software IDEs available today. Eclipse is known mainly as a Java IDE and it does require Java itself, but it is also a powerful and flexible multi-purpose platform, and adaptations exist for programming in many languages, including Java, C/C++, Lisp, and Python. Python support is available with an Eclipse package called "PyDev", and I have found it to be a big step up.

Destroy annoying bugs part 2: Plug me into Eclipse.

Static code reviews aimed at eating bugs (!) are unbiased and neutral. If you spill coffee on their laps or are applying for the same job as them, the advice given back will remain the same. Static code reviews work via rules; some rules are accurate in their assessment and others are not so relevant--or even false. Before building a thorough infrastructure for large-scale deployment, it is well worth installing the tool's respective plugins. You can have a lot of fun kicking the tires of the rule sets for your own particular environment. Getting your fingers into the reality of the code is the first step in the path to Quality Assurance enlightenment. Note to self, remember to ask boss for pay rise.

Note: this is Part 2. Feel free to read Part 1!

NetBeans 6.0 is out: why should developers use it?

The free software age is all about giving the freedom to choose: flexibility to choose the best out of a variety of almost-the-best software is one of the hallmarks of this era. On the flip side, a newbie to this world often faces a choice overload. Should she go for Fedora or Ubuntu or Debian, GNOME or KDE, NetBeans or Eclipse, Open MPI or Open MP or PVM? We have loyalists on every side swearing by their product--and they are not wrong. It is tough to make a choice. However, with time, based on usage preferences, a choice is made and she finds her favourite distro, development tools and the like.

At the moment, two IDEs are dominant in the free software world: Eclipse and NetBeans. Being a NetBeans fan (and part of the NetBeans community), I will explain why in my opinion it's NetBeans is a fantastic choice.

Book review: BIRT: A Field Guide to Reporting by Diana Peh, Alethea Hannemann, Nola Haque

The creation and generation of well presented and delivered reports is a specialized profession that requires the correct skills, mentality and tools. An excellent free software example of such a tool set is the Eclipse-based Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools (BIRT) system for web applications.

Book review: Agile Java Development with Spring, Hibernate and Eclipse by Anil Hemrajani

The book Agile Java Development with Spring, Hibernate and Eclipse by Anil Hemrajani is a book for developers which effectively weaves an understandable lesson based on a realistic, but imaginary timesheet project. This book describes the combination of agile project mentality and Java programming and is a welcome addition to my personal library and the Java biased development audience as a whole.

Extending documentation formats and facilities using the Docbook base

Back in July, we made an Eclipse documentation plug-in of the MySQL manuals available for users to download.

In truth, the Eclipse documentation format is actually just HTML; you have to combine the HTML with a plug-in manifest that details the documentation, version number etc so that the documentation is loaded and identified as a valid plug-in element when Eclipse is started.

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