E01: Environment configuration

For ICS 111 and the rest of your ICS career it is highly recommended that you set up a good software development environment. In this experience you will begin the process of creating a high quality software engineering environment on your computer.

This is an optional experience.

Task 1: Have appropriate hardware

Preferred hardware is a laptop with >= 2 Ghz processor, >= 2 GB RAM, >= 20 GB free disk space, and wireless access. As noted in the lecture, a Dell Laptop satisfies these requirements for $500-$1000. Note that “netbooks” are not suited for professional software development: while more portable, their screens are too small and they generally have less RAM and slower CPUs.

Task 2: Install an appropriate operating system

An up to date release of Mac OS/X or a Linux-based OS are the preferred operating systems for this class. If you must use Windows, you should use the latest release.

If needed, I can sign you up for MSDNAA, which will provide you with a free copy of the latest Windows OS.

Task 3: Install Java 8

Determine if you need to install Java 8

Most of the time, you will need to install a new version of Java for this course. To see whether you will need to do so, open a command shell and type java -version:

$ java -version 
  java version "1.8.0_05"
  Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.8.0_05-b13)
  Java HotSpot(TM) 64-Bit Server VM (build 25.5-b02, mixed mode)

Install the Java JDK

If the ‘java’ command does not work, or if the version is not 1.8, then you will need to install a new version of Java JDK following the directions at the Java SDK Downloads Page.

You must download and install the JDK version of Java, not just the JRE.


In addition to the java -version command working properly, you must also make sure that the JAVA_HOME environment variable is set correctly.

On Unix machines (Linux, Mac), you can check as follows:

$ printenv | grep JAVA_HOME

This output indicates that the JAVA_HOME environment variable is set and it is set to the Java 8 installation.

On Windows, you can type set to see the list of all environment variables.

Switch between versions of Java (optional)

Some of you might need to switch back and forth among different versions of Java. For example, you might need to use Java 8 for this course and Java 7 for your research project (because, for example, it requires a library that only runs on Java 7).

There are a variety of ways to switch between Java versions:

Task 4: Install the Eclipse IDE (Integrated Development Environment)

You can program in Java just using a text editor and the Java compiler and virtual machine. Please don’t. Modern IDEs make you a vastly more productive developer. There are many popular IDEs available:

We are going to use Eclipse as our IDE. Download the Eclipse installer and install it on your computer. Follow the Getting Started with the Eclipse Workbench and Getting Started with Java development tutorials.

You can watch this quick screen cast of me installing Eclipse Mars.1.

Submission Instructions

To be completed by the time and date indicated on the Schedule page.