Which programming language(s) should universities teach, and which integrated development environment (IDE) should they use?
Is there one programming language universities should teach?
What is the best IDE for beginners?
Eclipse should be used over other IDEs such as BlueJ because of its sophisticated debugger, code completion, and error detection. Some people might say that the Eclipse debugger is too complicated for beginners. However, I believe that after learning how to use Java Visualizer, it’s much easier to learn Eclipse’s debugger. With Eclipe’s debugger, programmers can choose to go into method calls or simply skip over them. While there are many options available to users in Eclipse, most users will only need to know where the run and debug buttons are. Furthermore, some people might say that Eclipse is not beginner-friendly because it does not visualize the hierarchy of classes, allow users to instantiate objects using a GUI, and separate code segments with colors. From what I have noticed, many programs at UW-Madison require many files and classes. Therefore, the BlueJ class hierarchy would get very cluttered on small screens. The other two benefits of BlueJ would be helpful to have, but I believe that Eclipse’s sophisticated autocompletion and error detection will be more beneficial for beginners. When programmers have compiler errors in Eclipse, the IDE will present the user with solutions that can be integrated with just one click, which saves programmers lots of time. Also, users can easily see which methods and variables an object has access to by typing “.” after an object or string. Although Eclipse’s IDE is not the most beginner-friendly IDE in terms of visualization and complexity, it will save even beginner programmers lots of time in the long-run.
My own experiences
My experiences as a student at UW-Madison and tutor in the Computer Science Learning Center has led me to believe that Java and Eclipse is the right combination as of now. In my personal experience, I found it challenging to transition from Python to Java because of the use of brackets and declaration of variable types. As a result, I think that it is easier for people to start learning how to program in Java and then branch out to other languages such as C or Python. With countless resources for Java and IDEs like Eclipse, universities like UW-Madison should not change their current curriculum just yet.