CSE logo University of Washington Department of Computer Science & Engineering
 CSE 142 and CSE 143 Winter 2006-- Computing at Home
  UW Home     CSE Home   CSE 142   CSE 143 

Course Webs
CSE 142 Home
CSE 143 Home


This document should help you get set up for working on a home computer. The software setup is the same for both CSE142 and CSE143 this quarter - these instructions apply to both courses. You'll need to install the following software:
  1. The Java SDK from Sun or Apple
  2. Probably one or more of (ask your instructor which)
    • Textpad: a simple text editor with an interface to compile and run programs
    • DrJava: a Java interpreter and development environment designed for learners, but robust enough for developing substantial projects.
    • Eclipse: an industrial-strength Java development environment that has become very popular in the open-source community.

We're not particularly religious about which development environment you use.  You can do most of the assignments in CSE142/3 with very simple tools -- see the end of the document for a low-tech (yet surprisingly powerful and useful) approach -- or with other recent Java 2 programming environments like BlueJ, jGrasp, JBuilder, Sun One Studio (formerly known as Forte), the NetBeans IDE, CodeWarrior (commercial only), and so forth.  You can't use Microsoft Visual J++, however; it does not support current versions of the the Java language and libraries.

If you want to work at home, you are on your own to some extent in terms of getting stuff set up. Ask friends, read documentation, post a question on the bulletin board, ask us -- but we can't be guaranteed to have an answer. Ultimately you're on your own with your home computer. The UW lab is always available as a fallback.

Regardless of the development environment that you use, the code you turn in should only rely on the standard Sun Java libraries, and any additional files or libraries that are distributed by us. Your code should not rely on "wizards", special libraries that might be provided with your environment, or code that comes from the Internet or friends (unless your instructor says that this is appropriate for a particular assignment).  The programs you give us will be compiled and run using our set-up, which is the standard Java language and libraries..

Java SDK

Java 1.5 for Windows, Linux, and Unix

You must first install the Java 2 Platform from Sun Microsystems.  We suggest using the latest version of the Standard Edition, version 1.5.

Go visit the Java2 download page. If you're downloading the Windows version, be sure to get the "windows offline installation", which includes all files needed and doesn't require an active internet connection to install. The distribution is big, roughly 52MB, so if you're connecting by slow modem, it's going to be a pain. DSL or Cable Modem users should have an easier time. You can always download it onto a UW lab machine with a CD burner and make a copy that you can carry home to install.

To install, double-click on the j2sdk-XXX.exe installer program that you downloaded from Sun, and then follow the instructions. A couple of notes:

  • If you have earlier versions of Java on your machine and plan to replace them with the current version, remove the old versions first. Use the add/remove programs control panel, and be sure to remove all Java components, including the Java SDK, the Java Runtime Environment (JRE), and Java Web Start. (There is a bug in some versions of the Sun installer that can prevent some Java programs from launching if older parts of Java are removed after the new version is installed.)

  • We strongly recommend you install the Java SDK in the the default directory suggested by the installer. By doing that, you can keep your environment consistent with IPL machines and most students and TAs' environment. And you should be able to download the tools from us and run them directly without the need of modification. If you already installed Java SDK in another directory, we recommend you delete it - including the SDK, JRE, and Java Web Start - using the add/remove programs control panel, then run the installer and let it put the SDK in the default directory. (Do NOT just rename the original directory. It will NOT work). If you really want to use other directory names, you may have to make changes in other parts of the installation to match, and you're on your own.

  • Be sure you install the Java Standard Edition Software Development Kit (J2SE™ SDK), formerly known as the Java Development Kit (JDK).  There is a smaller package called the Java Runtime Environment (JRE), which is a subset of the SDK that includes files needed to run, but not create, Java programs.  The JRE is not adequate for our purposes -- be sure to get the SDK.

  • We recommend that you install everything. If disk space is really limited on your machine, you can try omitting the source code and demos to save space, but install everything else.  (You'll eventually get the option of what you want to install when you run the j2sdk-XXX.exe installer program that you downloaded from Sun.) However, in past quarters, some students have had trouble getting Java to work if only part of it is installed, so it is best to install the entire package if you can.

Java 1.4 for Macintosh OS X

Panther: Java 1.4.1 comes installed on OS X 10.3 Panther. Java 1.4.2 is available from the software update control panel and we suggest you install the latest version of it.

Jaguar: Version 10.2 of OS X includes Java 1.3.1. Version 1.4.1 is available from software update and we suggest you install it. Version 1.4.1 should work fine for CSE142 and CSE143, but if you want to upgrade to 1.4.2 and beyond, you'll need to upgrade to OS X Panther (10.3). Apple does not plan to release any new versions of Java for Jaguar.

If you have an earlier version of OS X and want to buy the latest version, be sure to take advantage of the educational discount available through Apple's web site. Click store at the top of Apple's main page, then click education on the horizontal banner.

If you have installed the Developer Tools (XCode) software, get the Java 1.4 OS Tools update that corresponds to your version of Java and install it (available at http://developer.apple.com/). If you did not install or don't plan to use the Developer Tools, this is not necessary.

Editors and Development Environments

Once you have installed or updated the basic Java tools on your machine, you'll need a text editor or development environment so you can edit and run Java programs, which are stored in simple text files. Here are some environments that are in use in various CSE introductory classes. You're instructor will tell you if he/she has any particular preference.

You can use any or all of these environments on the same system. Just be sure that you install the Sun Java SDK or Apple Java update first so that the environments can locate the Java software when they are installed.


Textpad is a simple text editor with built-in support for formatting and running Java programs. Just download the installer for the current version from http://www.textpad.com/download/index.html and run it. It is about a 2MB file so it is reasonable to download over a dialup line.


  1. DrJava's web site is http://drjava.sourceforge.net/. You probably want to install the latest stable release, although the current beta release has been quite stable. DrJava is about 1.5MB in size, so it is a reasonable download even over a slow dialup connection.
    • (Windows) Click on the download windows app button and place it wherever you like.
    • (Unix, and Linux) Click on the download jar file button to get the .jar (Java archive) file containing DrJava and place it wherever you like.
    • (Mac OS X) Click on the download Mac OS X app button to get the OS X version of DrJava. If you have the developer tools (XCode) installed, we suggest you put DrJava in the Developer/Applications folder. If you haven't installed the developer tools, we suggest putting DrJava in your Applications folder.
  2. Start DrJava.
    • (Windows, Unix, Linux) On most of these systems, you should be able to run DrJava by double-clicking on the drjava jar or application file.
      For future convenience, if you're using Windows, you might want to create a shortcut to the DrJava file and place it on the desktop or in some other convenient location. Right-click on the DrJava file and select create shortcut from the popup menu.
    • (Mac OS X) DrJava runs as a normal application. Double click to start it.
  3. The first time you start DrJava on Windows and some other systems, you may get a message saying "DrJava cannot find any Java compiler. Would you like to configure [it]..." Click on yes. Assuming you've used the default Java SDK installation, use the file dialog to select C:\j2sdk1.4.2_05\lib\tools.jar. DrJava should then open its main window. This extra step should not be necessary with recent versions of DrJava, and is not necessary on Mac OS X.
  4. To verify that DrJava is working, enter the following line, including the semicolon, in the interactions window pane at the bottom of the screen, to the right of the ">" prompt.
    Hit return (enter) and DrJava should display the word hello below the line that you typed.
  5. If you want to use the new assert statement that was added to Java in version 1.4 (optional for CSE142, needed for CSE143), start DrJava if it is not already running, select Preferences... from the Edit menu, select the Miscellaneous category, then click the Allow assert keyword in Java 1.4 check box in the middle of the panel, and click ok. This only needs to be done once. DrJava currently does not support the use of assert in the interactions window at the bottom of the screen, but you can use it in any new classes that you create.


This is a full-featured development environment that has an enthusiastic following in the open-source community. It is probably overkill for the projects encountered in introductory courses like CSE142 and CSE143, but some students have found it useful for larger projects, particularly in CSE143.

  1. Eclipse is available from www.eclipse.org. We suggest installing either the latest release (3.0.1 as of September, 2004) or, if you want a few additional features, the latest 3.1 stable build (3.1M2). These are big downloads (~60-80MB), so if you have a dialup line, you may want to download the file in a campus lab and burn it onto a CD to carry home.
  2. Install Eclipse by moving the application to the Developer/Applications folder (Mac OS X, if you have installed the developer tools), Applications (OS X if you haven't installed developer tools), or unpacking the zip file and installing using the usual conventions for your system (others).
  3. Start Eclipse by double clicking the Eclipse application.

Textbook Libraries

As you read your textbook, you may come across references to special Java libraries and sample code that the textbook authors have created.  If these are needed for your course, you will receive specific instructions for how to use them with your assignments.  Of course, you are welcome to study the code samples in the textbook.  As you do, please keep in mind that they may use features or libraries which will not be discussed in your course.


CSE logo Department of Computer Science & Engineering
University of Washington