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1 BlueJ first, obviously; but what next, when, and why? Ian Utting

2 2 Overview BlueJ is a popular IDE for introducing beginners to OO programming in Java, but it was not designed to cater for students' needs as the systems they develop become more complex. This talk will look at issues in BlueJ's support for large, complex projects, appropriate jumping-off points for moving on to a more fully-featured IDE, and at work being undertaken by the BlueJ and NetBeans development teams to aid that transition.

3 3 BlueJ BlueJ is a Java IDE targeted at beginners to programming, typically first-year CS undergraduates It’s goals are to: Introduce classes and objects from day 1 Expose object fundamentals: state behaviour multiplicity independence Let students experience objects Emphasise modelling It’s in use at over 400 Universities, maybe 250000 students a year, certainly ½ million downloads a year

4 4 But … There comes a point when students need to leave BlueJ behind them But they won’t Problem is Packages (to an extent) but mainly just the number of classes in a package Lack of tool and framework support is any issue as the curriculum broadens J2ME/J2EE development/deployment GUI builders CVS Extensions are a help, but not a panacea

5 5 Moving on to a grown-up IDE The step up to an out-of-the-box Professional IDE is still large We don’t see commitment to teaching/supporting the transition – it’s often FOFO by default rather than design BlueJ’s extensions ethos is offset in Pro IDEs by tick-list marketing (everything is turned on by default) There have been a number of attempts to produce cut-down versions of Pro IDEs for teaching: Gild (U. Victoria, Canada) and Penumbra (Purdue) on top of Eclipse Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Express Maybe the problem is that they don’t have a starting-point, so they’re trying to produce BlueJ replacements, not BlueJ follow- ons?

6 6 An aside on “flattery”

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9 9 Designing a BlueJ follow-on Goals: Everything that’s visible must be familiar, or highly valuable Everything that’s not familiar should be part of the new environment This should be the last transition for students (in this “thread”) Installation should be trivial Evolution (towards the full-blown Pro IDE) should be easy Occasional reversion to BlueJ should be supported Choice of which-new-features-to-reveal is going to be very dependent on curriculum

10 10 NetBeans BlueJ Edition Designed and developed by the BlueJ and NetBeans development teams, especially Michael Kölling, Ian Utting and Milos Kleint. Beta by May 15 Ship late July?

11 11 Demonstration

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