Sun Grooms Student Developers

The company's new program, Sun Student Connection, aims to reach out to the ranks of student developers, and ties a new version of Java NetBeans in with the BlueJ programming teaching tool.

NEW YORK—As part of its Academic Developer World Tour, Sun Microsystems is announcing a new program to connect with student developers, and delivering software to help teach students how to program in Java.

Vice President and Sun Fellow James Gosling will be speaking to students at Columbia University here on the afternoon of March 9, when he will discuss the Sun Student Connection.

The Sun Student Connection provides an academic focus to members of the SDN (Sun Developer Network). Sun officials said SDN is a one-stop shop for Sun technology developers, offering access to over 600 users groups and 170 forums in which to participate, share and learn.

SDN provides members with many developer resources, as well as early access to software, code samples, tools and tutorials.

Students wishing to keep up to date with the latest information from Sun can subscribe to the Sun Student Connection e-mail newsletter here.

Gosling will also discuss the release of new version of the NetBeans IDE (integrated development environment), the NetBeans IDE/BlueJ Edition, which provides beginning developers an easy migration path from the basic educational capabilities of the BlueJ environment to the professional-level development capabilities of the NetBeans IDE.

"The hottest thing in tools right now that I can think of is around the folks from BlueJ and the folks from NetBeans getting together, to not only get people started with development, but to then take them from novice stages to serious development," Gosling told eWEEK in an interview at the Sun Worldwide Education and Research Conference here.

/zimages/1/28571.gifTo read about how Sun plans to pursue its infrastructure mission, click here.

The BlueJ environment was developed as part of a university research project about teaching object orientation to beginners, said officials from the academic project behind the effort. The aim of BlueJ is to provide an easy-to-use teaching environment for the Java language that facilitates the teaching of Java.

The BlueJ system is being developed and maintained by a joint research group at Deakin University, in Melbourne, Australia, and the University of Kent in Canterbury, England. The project is supported by Sun, based in Santa Clara, Calif.

/zimages/1/28571.gifClick here to read a review of NetBeans 5.0.

Also as part of the Sun Academic Developer World Tour, students will be presented with Ki-Bi cards and given instructions on how to participate in the Sun Student Developer Trivia Sweepstakes for a chance at winning prizes that include $1,000 cash, a Nokia N-Gage Phone, an Apple iPod or a Sony MP4 player.

The Ki-Bi card is a credit card-sized electronic device capable of delivering mobile content and applications to any Java-powered handset, on any network.

The cards give students access to a variety of developer-related tools and applications, such as the trivia sweepstakes, which will help students learn more about the educational resources, tools and communities available through the Sun Developer Network, and a voucher for a free Java Associate Certification Practice Exam.

In addition, students will also have access to "fun" applications such as free Java mobile game downloads, Java audio ring tones and mobile wallpaper, Sun said.

"Java technology has a unique place in education. The Java programming language is not only excellent for teaching students programming skills and object-oriented concepts, it can also provide students with a career path upon graduation," Gosling said in a statement.

"Historically, student developers would learn older or even proprietary programming languages during their time in university courses and then have to learn a different modern language once out in the real world. With 99 percent of the Fortune 500 using Java technology, for students it isnt just write once, run anywhere, it can also be learn once, work anywhere."

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