Wiki definition:

In computer science, the syntax of a programming language is the set of rules that define the combinations of symbols that are considered to be correctly structured programs in that language.

I would define syntax to be a particular layout of words and symbols.

Think of an email address… when you see it, you know it's an email address… why is that? Email's have a syntax.

Syntax is usually the toughest thing to grasp for more experienced programmers. This is because most of the things you learn from your first language, you can carry forward into another. But syntax is usually the big differentiation between languages.

Good news is that Integrated Development Environments help you with syntax.


Helps you get the job done faster. You could just program in Notepad, but then you would miss great features of an IDE.

– Code completion
– Compiler to check syntax
– Ability to ctrl-click on methods/variables to jump to where they are defined
– Applies colour schemes to code, for readability

The IDE I'd recommend is SpringSource Tool Suite

Other IDEs are:


Before you install any IDEs, you'll first need to install a JDK, Java Development Kit. This essentially allows you to write and run Java programs. You can see how to do this here:

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