Getting Into the Swing of Thing

Fist I must explain why this blog post is coming in so late. Grades closed for the first marking period this past week, so with that came hight levels of stress. The combination of stressing over grades, and procrastination lead to the perfect storm, which in turn delayed this blog post. All though this blog post may be the first in a while, I have continued to charge forth with the MOOC lessons. I am now on lesson 16. This is over 10 new lessons, so buckle up because we have a lot to cover.

Some important changes I have made to my learning style should be noted. I have started taking notes as the video plays to gain a deeper understanding of Java. An example of what my note-book looks like can be seen bellow.

I started with lesson 7. This covers Strings. A string is a lot like an Int variable, but for text. Using a string is simple; it must have a name following it and it must be declared as something. Example:

String greeting = “Hello”; 

This line of code will have a string class file, the name of the string is greeting, and when called upon it has a value of Hello. This class file can then be used to print text in a program.

      Lesson 8; this lesson starts to cover loops, specifically the While Loop. Before I can talk about the loop, I first must cover a Boolean. A Boolean command is used to declare if something is true or false. Examples:

boolean loop = true; //this will out put true

boolean loop = 6<1; //this will out put true

Now, on to loops. A loop is a program that will run over and over as long as a condition remains true. Example:

while (value <10) {



This program will run over and over, adding one to the variable value until it is grater than 10.

      Lesson 9 is a contrition of loops, however using a For type. For loops  are broken into three sections: the first is code that will run before the loop starts, the second is the condition that must be meet for the loop to run, the final section will run with every run of the loop. Example:

for (int J = 0; J < 5; J++)

In this code the loop will start with the variable equaling 0. Then in order for the loop to run J must be less than 5 (which it is). And finally one will be added to J with each run of the loop. So after five loops the program will end.

      Lesson 10 tackles the if command. The if command runs only if a condition is met. It can be followed by an else if function. An else function will run if the if command is not met. Examples of this will be found in junction with the next lesson.

     Lesson 11 teaches to get user input. To do this a Scanner class file must be used. It is rather hard to explain how this works, so I will so an example right after I cover the next lesson.

     Lesson 12 is the do… while loop. A do while loop is a loop that will always run at least once, then check of the condition at the end.

      Here is a screen shot of a program I made. This program was meant to be a guessing game where the user inputs a number and the program loops until the correct number is guessed. This program covers almost everything I have learned up to this point.

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 9.14.25 PM

I then moved on to lesson 13, which covers the switch function. The switch runs varying code depending on the value of a variable. This is used mostly with string and int variables. This is not often used in more advanced code, so I didn’t spend too much time on it.

Lesson 14 and 15 cover Arrays. An Array represented as [ ] represents the holding of mutual values. For Example:

int [ ] numbers = {5,6,7};

This line of code created one variable numbers and gave it the value 5, 6, or 7.

I still have a long way to go and some catching up to do, but I am now in a steady pattern and ready to master Java!


Java, a foreign language

I have now completed the first seven lessons on the MOOC, and the most important idea I have learned is that understanding Java is like learning a whole new language.

This is a screen shot of code written in the program Eclipse, the same program I am using. When I first stared with lesson one this screen shot would have been complete gibberish. Even now seven lessons in, I am still attempting to decode exactly what this means. The problem I had when first I starting was wrapping my head around the idea that I was l was learning an entirely new language. I was trying to take in all parts of coding at once witch left me frustrated and confused. However, once I realized that I was learning something completely new I changed the way I was consuming the information. I started to take each new line of code as though it was a vocab word, learning its definition, and knowing when to use it. I am now in the right state of mind to tackle the challenge that is learning a new language.

The first five lessons covered mostly what Java is, how to use it, and what to do after I complete the MOOC. I knew coming it these lessons that java was a popular coding language, and that the possibilities of Java are endless. A perfect example is Android, one of the largest smart phone platforms with over 18,000 distinct devices. They also covered how the download and instal the Eclipse software. So, the first five lessons were more of a review, with a little bit of set up and preparation.

It was the sixth and seventh lessons that actually started to teach me how to code. Lesson five covered your typical “Hello World Program”. This is the base program that almost always comes up when a new project is started. When this program is run it simply creates text saying “Hello World”. I have worked with C++, so Hello World program isn’t too new for me; it is written a little different in Java though. The seventh lesson covered variables. A variable is data that you can declare, and then later initialize. This is a little strange to describe, so I will give an example: If I were to type int myNumber that is a variable. The int part is the type of variable (their are eight types) and myNumber is the name of the variable. I could the initialize the variable by saying myNumber = 7. I have now given myNumber the value of 7.  I’m not sure what I can do with this as of right now, but I’m sure it will become critical later.

I am enjoying the challenge of learning a new language, and will continue to press onwards!

Who am I? Why Java? What is a MOOC?

I am Thomas Neal. A kid with many passions, including: skiing, tennis, rock climbing, surfing, and learning. This is my sixteenth year on the planet, and one of the things I have discovered is technology is EVERYWHERE. It seems that every month some ground breaking new technology is presented. So, to be truly successful in today’s age one MUST understand technology. This is why I am starting on my quest to learn how to code with Java. I know that code is the backbone of most new inventions, so if I ever want to be competitive in that felid than I should start with the basics. This is my first time working with Java, however I have worked with C++ before. I am learning Java as an independent study at my High School; this means the way I am being thought is a little unusual. I will be using a program called MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). This program allows me to learn Java at my own pace outside of school. I love the this idea, especially for coding. I always had trouble trying to code when forced. In order for me to really learn I need to be able to sit down when I want, and really hammer away at it. This is exactly what the MOOC lets me do. If I want to take a break, or work all through the night, I have that freedom. This kind of freedom can’t be found inside the classroom. I am truly looking forward to pushing myself and learning the ways of Java.