IDE is short form for Integrated Development Environment. It is a software application which helps the software developer to write code and then compile, test and debug it.
You can develop software without IDE as well. You can write code in any text editor like Notepad or Sublime. Then write commands on the command prompt or terminal to compile the program and then write some more commands to execute it. If you encounter any error during compilation or testing, you need to redo the whole process again. This is where IDEs shine, they help developers save time by simplifying all this process so that it can be done by just clicking a button or two. Typically, an IDE provides a code editor, debugger and compiler all in one. So by using an IDE, you need not switch across multiple tools. You can be super-efficient by managing all your development related activities in a single tool.
Java has some very powerful and mature IDEs. The 2 most popular Java IDEs are Eclipse and IntelliJ Idea. But these IDEs are more suitable for professional software development. They have tons of features to boost developer productivity. All these features make them very complicated. As a beginner software developer, they will overwhelm you with all their complexity and you will end up learning the tool more than learning the language. So, for these reasons ICSE has prescribed BlueJ as the IDE to use for teaching computer applications. BlueJ is an IDE designed specifically for beginners. As you will see, it is very simple and interactive. It has a negligible learning curve, you will get started with it fairly quickly.
With the context for IDE set, let’s look at BlueJ in the next lesson.