Programming: Java (Not JavaScript)


Java (Not JavaScript)

Java is not the same thing as JavaScript.

As you dig into the world of web development, you are likely to encounter many references to JavaScript. You will also encounter many references to Java. Java and JavaScript are both programming languages, and they were both born on the same day: May 23, 1995. However, they are two very different things. Just as ham is not the same thing as hamster, the programming language Java is not the same thing as JavaScript.

JavaScript is a "scripting language" that interacts with the web browser to make web pages truly interactive. Although JavaScript is occasionally used for other purposes, it almost always is used in the context of a web browser. It is often used to create browser-based applications, and it is often used to create miniature browser-based games. As Katie Bouwkamp noted in 2016, "almost every website incorporates some element of JavaScript to add to the user experience." The software developer Eric Elliot estimates that "about one-third of all developer jobs require some JavaScript knowledge." In COMM 3344 (Web Design), you will use JavaScript, HTML, and CSS to create your third mini-site.

Java is a robust programming language which does not rely on a web browser. This language is used to develop all native applications on the Android platform, and Bouwkamp argues that it is "used by some 9 million developers and running on 7 billion devices worldwide." The language is relatively accessible to new programmers, there is an enormous community of Java developers, and it was the second most in-demand programming language in 2016. According to the President of the IT recruiter Dice.Com, there are "more than 16,000 Java positions open on any given day."

To earn this badge, you will work through two interlinked tutorials on Lynda.Com: Doug Winnie's "Computer Science Principles" and Doug Winnie's "Computer Science Principles Lab: Java."

"What's that, Delwiche?" you say. "Two tutorials for only one badge? That seems like an enormous amount of work.

Actually, these are relatively short tutorials. The "Computer Science Principles" course is 85 minutes long, and the Java lab is only 2 hours long. After working through both of these tutorials, you will be able to claim basic proficiency with a programming language that is in high demand.

Badge Deliverables

  1. Point your browser at Doug Winnie's "Computer Science Principles" tutorial, and work through the first two chapters ("Control computers with code" and "Define actions using code"). Bookmark the page, as you will be returning to it often.
  2. Point your browser at Doug Winnie's "Computer Science Principles Lab: Java" and work through the first two chapters ("Intro to Java" and "Define actions using code").
  3. Don't just watch and try to memorize the steps. Instead, you should follow along with the instructor, with your hands on the mouse and keyboard. In order to do this, you will need to download the "exercise files" that are linked to the lesson. If you are unable to locate the files, please contact me, and I'll point you in the right direction.
  4. Continue to hop back and forth between the two tutorials until you have completed all chapters in each tutorial.
  5. By the end of this Java lab, you will have defined a ""cat class" that has certain properties (e.g. a name and an age) and that can perform certain functions/methods (e.g. speaking and growling). After finishing the lab, you should follow these steps to create a new type of object. For example, you might create a "dog" object that has certain characteristics and engages in certain behaviors. Or, you might create a "race car" object that has certain characteristics and engages in certain behaviors. Essentially, you will be following the same basic template that Winnie demonstrated, but you will be using it to create something new.
  6. If you get stuck or confused at any point, please do not hesitate to contact me via e-mail.
  7. When you've finished both tutorials, write up your experience in a blog posting. All badge write-ups should be posted to your personal blog. How did the experience go for you? What problems did you encounter, and how did you overcome these problems? What questions do you have about Java or about coding in general? Is there anything you don't know how to do that you want to learn how to do?
  8. Although I will be reading and evaluating your blog posting, you should imagine that this blog posting is being read by a colleague or potential employer who has Googled your name. You should answer the above questions in a way that will demonstrate your skills as a writer, your facility with technology, your willingness to tackle new technologies, and your ability to find answers to technical questions. Think of this blog posting as an opportunity to impress someone you have not yet met.
  9. When you have finished the blog posting, send me an e-mail that includes a link to your completed blog posting. The subject line for this message should be "Pending: Programming Java (Not JavaScript."

Useful Resources

Last Revised: January 3, 2017
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