PATH variables, text editors and java

I decided to brush up on my Java skills. It’s been some 2 years since I did any serious programming with it, and I felt that it was time to sharpen my axe. Installing the JDK was easy. Just follow the steps in the installer-setup. After that, it was a matter of setting the Environment Variables in XP. Just update the PATH, right ?

Turns out, it’s not quite as simple as that.

There are 2 kinds of Environment Variables. We have the usual system variables and we also have the user-specific variables. I didn’t want to mess things up for other users on my system, so I created a new Environment Variable “PATH” in the user-specific section and pointed it to my JDK installation. To test it, I opened up the command-prompt and ran “javac”. It worked. So, things should now be all setup? (hopefully ..?)

As, I’m doing this for a refresher course, I decided to use Notepad++. You can configure the program to run your own custom scripts. I attempted to set it up. … Long story short, it didn’t work. I tried similar settings with Geany, but that also failed.

It took me about 3 days to figure it out, but what was happening was that the text editors refused to look/accept the user-defined system variables. After I added the javac path to the main system-list, things have started working well.

Why do we even have this “User variables” as part of the Environment Variables in Windows if no program seems to make use of it ?!? For now, I’ll chalk it up to bad/lax design on Microsoft’s part.