FRC Java for Dummies?

We have programmed in Labview for several years and have to start fresh with new programmers. I felt that this is the best year to try and move over to Java, primarily as this will provide team members with better learning opportunities. I have been searching and searching and can not find a great tutorial or walkthrough for getting started. I have seen a lot of resources, but nothing like a quickstart that Labview had.

Does anyone have some good suggestions for materials? Thanks.


I’d recommend starting with the wpilib docs:

The intro doc lists a couple of other resources (a book and a site) that might be a good place to start.

I’d suggest that you start just like we start new programmers, follow the docs and do the minimal work to get code going on the robot. Start simple, drive via a joystick or gamepad then add complexities of other subsytems and auto.

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I have been maintaining an FRC Java Programming Resource Compendium for a few years now. Its chock full of resources you can take a crack at: 3468 FRC Java Programming Resource Compendium - Google Docs

The BEST quickstart I’ve seen on the actual programming itself was Brad Miller’s 2012 YouTube series, FRC 2012 Rapidly creating a robot program - YouTube, which was used to introduce the Command Based Framework. Unfortunately this is very outdated now as the Command Based Framework has undergone several changes, plus a heavy re-write. Would love an updated version of this, with the closest we do have being from this year’s FIRST Hour of Code presentation 2020 Hour of Code with FIRST - YouTube

As for my other recommendations, the official docs Techplex linked are actually pretty good if you go through and follow them, plus I’ve always been impressed with Spectrum’s curriculums including on Controls and Programming: Spectrum FRC Training Curriculum


Along with all the great resources listed above, a good intro video series for just getting the robot going is 6814’s 0 to Autonomous series. We watched it when we made the switch from LabView to Java last year, and it gave us a good starting point.

Beyond FRC, I’d recommend a little familiarity with Java in general. We started with Codecademy for an introduction to the syntax, types, classes, methods, etc.


I highly suggest How to think like a Computer Scientist as a starter book for learning Java.

Once you are wanting to do some practice in writing methods, I love using CodingBat. It provides bite sized exercises along with solutions so you can figure things out if you are having difficulty.

Once you start looking into Objects, this article was very instrumental in guiding my thinking in how to teach others.

All the above resources are really good. I will also add The Compass Alliance Pathways are really awesome as well, take a look at the programming one (and a couple others while you are there.

Finally, I highly suggest reaching out to see if any programming mentors from other teams would do a few programming zoom calls with you. There many things that can be taught much faster someone experienced is there to help. I’ve done this a few times, and it worked out quite well. (Just make sure to follow your facilities YPP rules)

The below is just a quick reminder that it will take some time to transfer. Keep at it though!


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