java, J2SE JDK javac javax javaw help

Posted on 2006-04-27
Last Modified: 2013-11-23

I am confused and need some help in plain english. Can an expert out there tell me what is neccessary to be able to write and compile basic java programs in a PC environment (from command line). Also if you could enlighten me on the different download packages, compilers and what they are used for (sdk, j2se, javac, javaw, javax, etc). The more I read, the more confusing it gets. I appreciate it!!
Question by:ramoore
    LVL 14

    Expert Comment

    Follow this introductory tutorial, and it should become more or less clear
    LVL 14

    Expert Comment

    And as for Your mentioned abbrevistions and tools:

    sdk (System Development Kit), j2se (Java 2 Standard Edition) -

    javac - java compiler
    javaw -
    javax - is a package (that's a long story :)
    LVL 19

    Accepted Solution

    sdk = software development kit; refers to the entire Java runtime plus compiler and related tools
    j2se = Java 2 Standard Edition; generic name for the Java 2 desktop technologies
    javac = the Java compiler
    java = the Java interpreter
    javaw = the Java interpreter but with no console window
    javax = the top level package for Java extension APIs (not strictly defined as part of the 'language')

    These (and other) definitions are available at:

    And if you back up to you'll have plenty of reading.


    Author Comment

    Thank you all who responded so quickly! I appreciate your help Jim. Your quick defs helped and it looks as though I will do some more reading.

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