Here are some tips on making programming student problems easier.
Start from an existing, running, program.
If you can find a program that's vaguely similar
in it's interface, even it it solves a completely
different problem, it's much easier to start with
that and modify it. These notes have a number of
example programs that make good starting points.
The problem you might have is
the number of basic structures that
you haven't mastered yet (eg, the different between
applets and applications, different object structures,
...). These will be big barriers when you are
Make incremental changes. This is one of the basic
elements of Extreme Programming (a much hyped, but
good Software Development Lifecycle methodology).
Make a small change (a few lines), then compile
and run the program.
Learn your editor or IDE well. You will spend
most of your time with the editor -- learn it really
well and you will be rewarded. Eg, to get it to indent
your code, match braces, ... .
Indent your code. Good indentation is amazingly