have you used eclipse before and if so do you think that javac is better?
Eclipse is an IDE and not a compiler, while Javac is the compiler, for development you use both a compiler and IDE. Eclipse is NOT a substitute for Javac, Javac is the compiler on which you can compile your code wether writen in eclipse, notepad or netbeans, Javac comes with the JDK itself.
So if you are talking about a substitute for the Java compiler such as Javac you would look at GCJ, ECJ(the eclipse compiler for java, maybe you meant this), Jikes,.
if you are talking about a replacement for eclipse as an IDE then you would look at: Netbeans, JCreator, JBuilder etc.... were those wont work without the presence of a Java compiler such as Javac.
for further understanding i suggest you check out this link: