Lab: Environment Setup on the CSE Department's Windows PCs


In this lab you will set up the programming environment for CSE2221/2231 on the CSE Department Windows system.

Every student must complete this setup, even those who plan to use their own computer for the labs and projects. We recommend that you work on this lab with a classmate. Just follow the steps below together making sure you both complete the setup and help each other out when needed.

It is very important that you follow the instructions carefully and pay attention to the details. Make sure you do not skip any steps and that you type all inputs exactly as they are provided in this guide (including spelling and capitalization).


To repeat: follow the steps below very carefully. It is very important that you follow the instructions carefully and pay attention to the details or you may find yourself starting over. Make sure you do not skip any steps and that you type all inputs exactly as they are provided in this guide (including spelling and capitalization).

Eclipse Setup

Before starting Eclipse for the first time on the CSE Windows PCs, there are a couple of items that need to be taken care of. First, you will create a new shortcut for Eclipse that refers to the CSE 2221/2231 installation of Eclipse. Second, you will copy a customized Eclipse workspace to your home drive (U:). A workspace is a folder in which Eclipse stores your programs.

These steps are needed only this one time. After that you will be able to start using Eclipse without further delay. Here are the steps.

Create New Eclipse Desktop Shortcut

  1. Right-click on the desktop background and select New > Shortcut; you are now using the Create Shortcut wizard.
  2. Make the location of the item be S:\CSE\class\CSE22x1\eclipse-current\eclipse.exe -showlocation -data U:\workspace (copy it from here and paste it to avoid making a mistake when typing it)
  3. Click Next
  4. Make the name for this shortcut be 22x1 Eclipse
  5. Click Finish

Copy Workspace Template

  1. Open File Explorer (Press the Windows button and type explorer and select File Explorer from the list of displayed matches)
  2. In the File Explorer window, under This PC, find disk COE File Shares (S:) and open it; then in succession find and open the CSE, class, and CSE22x1 folders, and finally find and open the common folder; in other words, you want to navigate to S:\CSE\class\CSE22x1\common
  3. Copy the workspace to the U: drive by dragging the workspace folder from the S: drive to the U: drive in the left panel of the File Explorer window—make sure the new folder is not inside one of the folders already on the U: drive

Note: if there already happens to be a folder called workspace on the U: drive (perhaps from a previous semester), you need to rename it before you can copy the workspace template to U:.

Running Eclipse

Now that we are done with the setup, go ahead and start Eclipse by double-clicking on the 22x1 Eclipse shortcut on the Windows desktop. You will get a security warning (every time); just click Run.

Once Eclipse is finished loading, it will open the Java perspective shown below. The Eclipse window is always organized according to a perspective. The current perspective determines the panels (views and editors) that are displayed in the Eclipse window. The default perspective when Eclipse is started for the first time is called the Java perspective which is where you will do most of your programming work for this class.

You can take a look around the current window: note the menubar at the top with a variety of menus (File, Edit, Help, etc.), the toolbar below it, and the various panels in the Java perspective (Package Explorer, Problems/Javadoc/Declaration).

VERY IMPORTANT! If at this point you do not see the Project Template folder in the Package Explorer panel on the left (or there happen to be more than one folder), you must stop and call an instructor. Something in the setup did not work as expected and things need to be fixed before you can/should continue.

Update Eclipse Setting

There is one more thing to do before we can use Eclipse. Access the preferences window by selecting Preferences from the Window menu (on Mac OS X, Preferences is under the Eclipse menu).

Next select Java > Installed JREs.

  1. Click on the default selection (the one with the checkmark), and click Edit...
  2. Then enter -enableassertions (or simply -ea) in the box labeled Default VM Arguments and click Finish.
  3. Then click Apply and Close.

Creating a New Project from a Project Template

Work inside a workspace is organized in projects. A project is essentially a folder (usually inside the workspace folder) where you can store your code, documentation, tests, and all kinds of resources related to a given task.

The workspace already contains a project named ProjectTemplate as you can see in the Package Explorer view. You can expand a few entries to see what kind of structure this project has.

Although you can create projects directly in Eclipse, to avoid having to spend time customizing each project, you will create new projects by simply copying and pasting the template in Eclipse any time you need a new project (as explained below).

Important: You should never modify this template project! If you do accidentally modify it, or think you might have done so, you will want to delete the project ProjectTemplate in Eclipse and then download it anew by following these instructions.

Whenever you need to create a new project, e.g., for a lab or closed lab assignment, you copy and paste ProjectTemplate by following these simple steps:

  1. In the Package Explorer view, click the right mouse button with the mouse pointer on the ProjectTemplate project entry and select Copy from the pop-up menu.
  2. Click the right mouse button anywhere in the Package Explorer view and select Paste from the pop-up menu.
  3. Enter the name for your new project, MyProject, and click OK.
  4. Your new project is now displayed in the Package Explorer ready to be used as the starting point for your assignment.

Closing and Exiting Eclipse

To try and ensure that computing resources are not wasted (which could result in problems for everyone using the system), please always exit Eclipse by selecting File > Exit from the menubar (instead of just closing the Eclipse window or just logging out of Windows without exiting Eclipse first).

This completes this Eclipse setup guide. Make sure that both you and your partner have completed this guide before the next lab meeting.

Note: If you would like to be able to use Eclipse and access your files remotely from your own computer, see instructions on how to install and use the Citrix Workspace application to connect to a CSE virtual desktop at this link.

Setup on Your Own Computer

If you intend to use Eclipse on your own computer for (some or all) labs and projects, you should follow carefully these instructions to install and set it up.