I seem to agree with Fubarable... I always found Java to be very digestible and to a certain point, fun. Having come first from C and assembler, Java was a piece of cake.
I think newcomers should start basics with notepad and command prompt. Then migrate to an IDE when they have grasped those basics.
I would probaly think the same with GUI... hand coded at first and then migrate to a designer app when the basic concepts are understood.

CJSL