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Java Books Media Programming Book Reviews

Eclipse in Action 247

Simon P. Chappell writes "The Eclipse IDE has thundered into the collective consciousness of Java developers since its release by IBM as Open Source Software. Up until this time, the majority of available documentation at the Eclipse website has been for plug-in developers, with scant attention given to the rest of us that actually want to use the tool for anything else. This book restores the balance and brings much needed help to those interested in this IDE." Read on for the rest of Simon's review, about which he says "Full Disclosure: I received a free, review copy of this book, so feel free to assume that I've been bought off and have traded my technical integrity to put about an inch of dead tree on my shelf."
Eclipse in Action
author Gallardo, Burnette and McGovern
pages 383 (15 page index)
publisher Manning
rating 8
reviewer Simon P. Chappell
ISBN 1930110960
summary A good book that lives up to its name.


With a book like this it's difficult to know where to pitch the level. Do you aim for the lowest common denominator or do you assume some experience on the part of your reader? This book seems to have pitched itself well, not pandering to the absolute Java newbie, not afraid to get down into the code and yet gentle enough that newer Java developers can follow easily. The heavyweight chapter on writing plug-ins is at the back where it shouldn't frighten those of a sensitive nature.

The book is divided into two sections. The first and largest section concerns actual use of Eclipse during Java application development. The second section is for those who wish to write plug-ins for Eclipse.

The book takes a very 'Test Driven Development' approach to Java development and this shows in the manner that Eclipse is presented and taught. Emphasis is given to the tools that come with Eclipse, especially Ant, Junit and the CVS client. For those already skilled in these tools, this might seem like filler, but remember that there are still pitifully few Java developers using even these simple and free tools. My hat is off to the authors for their TDD evangelism, skillfully disguised as Eclipse usage instruction.

What's To Like

I liked the progression followed in the book, first teaching the basic operation of Eclipse and then moving on to the tools that come with the base install.

What's To Consider

Some may consider that the material on Ant, Junit and CVS is filler. The 'Test Driven Development' theme may be a little too much evangelism for some.

I use Eclipse on a Mac OS X box and I felt that there was very little discussion concerning the cross-platform attributes of the tool. All of the screenshots were from a Microsoft Windows build of the software; a Linux or OS X screenshot would have been helpful.

One more niggle and then I'm done. There is no information on using Eclipse with other programming languages (a couple of paragraphs in the introduction chapter doesn't really count). I've recently started tinkering with Ruby and have used a Ruby plug-in to allow me to work within Eclipse as I learn the language. This is a wonderful testament to the power and extensibility of Eclipse.


This is a good book. You know it's a good book when you already use the tool (both pure Eclipse and IBM's WSAD) regularly and you find yourself learning things that you had not previously been aware of. If you are working with Java and want a good free IDE that's going to grow with you, then Eclipse is a tool you should try -- and consider this book the User's Guide that would have been in the box if Eclipse came shrink-wrapped.

Table Of Contents

  1. Using Eclipse
    1. Overview
    2. Getting started with the Eclipse Workbench
    3. The Java development cycle: test, code, repeat
    4. Working with source code in eclipse
    5. Building with Ant
    6. Source control with CVS
    7. Web development tools
  2. Extending Eclipse
    1. Introduction to Eclipse plug-ins
    2. Working with plug-ins in Eclipse

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Eclipse in Action

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  • best ide ? (Score:5, Informative)

    by ramzak2k ( 596734 ) * on Monday July 21, 2003 @01:31PM (#6491824)
    Eclipse is easily the best IDE i have ever used - especially for java compared to other bloatwares for development like
    JBuilder/Netbeans/ Visual Age for Java. IMO, it is also the most easiest one to get familiar with. I have used IBM tools like Visual Age For java & Visual Age for CPP and boy, where they a pain to get started on.

    This page [] has all the shortcuts in the IDE- valuable time savers :)
    • Re:best ide ? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Randolpho ( 628485 ) on Monday July 21, 2003 @01:37PM (#6491881) Homepage Journal
      I agree.... Eclipse is the best IDE, hands down. It lacks a few key features, however:

      1) No drag/drop editing. This really is a must, and I can't think of why they haven't bothered with it.

      2) No visual GUI editor. This is available for a price, though. I just wish it were free. :(
      • Re:best ide ? (Score:3, Interesting)

        dnd editing? i find myself finding every way possible to stay away from that mouse. you can copy and paste methods, classes using eclipse, but yes, dnd i haven't really found (or looked for).

        if you need a gui editor, then use netbeans. it has an excellent gui editor and is free. if eclipse is the hammer, then gui editing is not a nail...
      • good point on the drag and drop editing - never noticed that missing feature ! :)

        on GUI editors, am yet to see any Java GUI editor that is as good as the one Microsoft has in Visual Studio - drag, drop & get stuff done.
        It has one clean interface where anything related to GUI element can be dealt with.
        Jbuilder came close, but even on that using a basic elements such as table required getting into the generated code and doing many of the necessary modification manually. I eventually settled for writing a
        • Qt Designer is a very nice GUI designer, and I prefer it to MS' Visual Studio, which is really good for GUI design. Granted, I haven't used VS in a long long time, but the Qt Designer approach is probably also more flexible.

          But its not for Java, a language which I have no experience in. I'll probably be taking a Java course this year, so that'll be interesting.
      • Re:best ide ? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by profet ( 263203 ) on Monday July 21, 2003 @02:06PM (#6492148)
        Personally I like IntelliJ IDEA [].

        It's not free...but I don't think I could go back to Eclipse.

        IDEA definatlly is the best Java IDE out there.
        • Re:best ide ? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by los furtive ( 232491 )
          Hear! Hear!
        • Re:best ide ? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by thrice ( 253465 ) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:47PM (#6493301)
          I'm definitely on board w/ this. I was an active user of Eclipse for about 8 months, and after trying out IDEA i switched and left Eclipse behind. Soon afterwards, my entire company followed and we all now use IDEA.

          One of my biggest complaints with Eclipse was the inability to open a file or compile to a directory outside of the project workspace. Additionally, i found the refactoring to be slow when compared to IDEA.

          • Would you want to compile to a directory outside your workspace? When I create a Java project, I create a src directory, a build directory and a docs directory. I write source in the src directory, compile my code to the build directory. All these reside in my workspace in Eclipse Perhaps you didn't know you could do this in Eclipse?

            I have no baseline to compare refactoring to, since I have only used that feature to rename a method in Eclipse, and I haven't use refactoring in any other editor.

            I haven'
        • Re:best ide ? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by SpryGuy ( 206254 )
          I completely agree.

          Since I first used IntelliJ IDEA, I cannot go back to any other editor. And with each version, it keeps getting better and better. (I'm on the Early Access Program for the next version... just wait to you see what it has in store! Wow!)

      • GUI editor (Score:5, Interesting)

        by mughi ( 32874 ) on Monday July 21, 2003 @02:09PM (#6492168)
        2) No visual GUI editor. This is available for a price, though. I just wish it were free. :(

        It could be that for a general experienced java programmer, GUI editors just don't work as well for Java. What with layouts, different ways to do things, etc., designing powerful UI code for Java is different than say for Win32 (and yes, I've done both). Personally, I'm faster just writing straight code from a logical standpoint instead of dragging in code from a physical one. It's a fairly common sentiment on* also.

        • Re:GUI editor (Score:2, Informative)

          Actually Eclipse does include a GUI SWT editor. If you install the example plugins the SWT editor is included as one of the examples.
          Granted, its not a full feature editor. But it allows you to quickly lay out all of the components and generate the SWT. I use it and it saves quite a bit of time.
        • Re:GUI editor (Score:5, Interesting)

          by bay43270 ( 267213 ) on Monday July 21, 2003 @06:01PM (#6494513) Homepage
          GUI editors don't work as well for Java because no one has done it right - yet. There is absolutly no reason Java GUI editing can't be as easy as it is in Visual Basic. Take a look at OS-X interface builder. It allows all the flexability of Java layout managament with a single layout (which is graphical AND easy to use). It also supports MVC by allowing drag and drop binding between components and listeners (very cool). What does Java have that makes it so much more complicated??? Nothing!

          BTW, Idea's next version will feature a GUI editor. It promises to be very clean. I don't know if it will catch on because it uses non-standard ideas such as byte code manipulation to keep the code clean. All layout is in XML (generated by the WYSIWYG editor) and the code only contains listeners and component references (even the references are optional if you don't have listeners on those components)
      • Re:best ide ? (Score:5, Informative)

        by s88 ( 255181 ) on Monday July 21, 2003 @02:14PM (#6492213) Homepage
        1) Yes there is (if i understand what you mean).

        Expand a java element in the Package Explorer View. Drag and drop it to where you want (eg another class). Eclipse does all the needed refactoring for you.

        2) No visual GUI editor. This is available for a price, though. I just wish it were free. :(

        I'll agree this is lacking, but take a look at some of the plugins:
        Eclipse GUI plugins []
        And specifically: Assisi []

        • Expand a java element in the Package Explorer View. Drag and drop it to where you want (eg another class). Eclipse does all the needed refactoring for you.

          Er... I meant Drag and Drop *text* editing; sorry if that was vague. There's lots of stuff I can drag and drop, but I can't hilite some text, drag it to another portion of the window/view I'm in (or even another view), and drop it there. Nor can I control-drop it to copy it there. Nearly every other text editor on the planet (except MS Notepad ;)) has t

        • It seems that they have so many of them now. Why can't all of the devo's just work on one? They could label it "Eclipse GUI plugin" or something. It seems to me that there's a lot of energy going into a lot of projects in parallel, when one of the projects getting done faster would be more desireable.

      • by Necroman ( 61604 ) on Monday July 21, 2003 @02:14PM (#6492218)
        Drag and drop has not been fully implemented for all platforms yet. Since the Eclipse GUI is built upon SWT (which spawned from Eclipse), SWT must support Drag and Drop. Currently it is not supported on all OSes that Eclipse runs on.

        If you head over to the SWT development page [] you will notice that Linux/gtk, MacOS and QNX all still need Drag and drop to be implemented. I know for MacOS, Drag and drop will be in Eclipse/SWT 3.0
      • To me, the feature I'd most like to see added is the ability to change the default line ending. If I'm working on a Windows machine, that doesn't mean I want CR/LF line endings in my code. It's should be a simple thing to add to the preferences, but they just haven't done it...
    • Re:best ide ? (Score:2, Informative)

      I think you could be right, since I use it for completely different thing and am hooked.

      Everyday for the last 6 months I am on eclipse + one [] of the few [] PHP plugins along with the ftp plugin from for developing websites. Theres even a few SQL plugins if you're that way inclined (plug a shedload more []). Lots of time saved and I can share projects between my work winxp system and linux at home since both run eclipse.

      The only things that can match all these features (last time I looked anyway) cost
    • Not Bloatware? (Score:4, Informative)

      by sparkhead ( 589134 ) on Monday July 21, 2003 @02:05PM (#6492137)
      Have you compared Eclipse's resource footprint to JBuilder/Netbeans/VA Java? It's more bloated.

      I've been a regular user of VA-Java/Smalltalk for years, and Eclipse uses a lot more resources and is missing many features the Envy-based repositories have.
    • Re:best ide ? (Score:2, Interesting)

      The best Java IDE is IntelliJ IDEA [], but it's not free.

      Having said that, Eclipse is pretty good, and much more pleasant to use than NetBeans.

    • I disagree...

      Eclipse is the best IDE for its price.

      If the company is floating the bill, then JBuilder or IntelliJ are better IDEs (though they cost a fortune).

      Not a dis against Eclipse. Its a fine IDE, but JBuilder and IntelliJ just have more features to really speed up production (especially in the EJB department).
      • In what way is JBuilder or IDEA better than eclipse? Please give me a few examples instead of laundry lists of features. I always find myself more productive with eclipse than JBuilder. My shop used to be all JBuilder and now it is almost exclusively eclipse because that's what the developers wanted to use. As far as IDEA goes, it crashed right after I installed it on my office windows box. I tried it at home and ended up with the same result: crash on launch. It's pathetic. There is nothing out of the ordi
    • If you haven't used IDEA from IntelliJ (, I don't think you can say this. Seriously, I've used 'em all and was blown away by IDEA. Definitely worth a try.
    • Re:best ide ? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by msoori ( 614781 )
      Eclipse maybe good enough for a free IDE, but it didnt pass my standards of excellence to make me a convert!!! Eclipse is one of the worst IDEs I've used. I had been using CodeWarrior for ages and was looking for a cheap alternative because I didnt want to pay $400 for CodeWarrior, so kept on trying every IDE I could find, free and otherwise. Today, I still use CodeWarrior, despite its cost because it offers superior navigation capabilities than anything else around. And its a very well thought out UI
  • The website (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bigjnsa500 ( 575392 )
    is already /.'ed... wonderful.... Mirror anybody?
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Monday July 21, 2003 @01:32PM (#6491837)
    From the Eclipse page :

    Welcome to
    Eclipse is a kind of universal tool platform - an open extensible IDE for anything and nothing in particular.

    It's an EMACS clone then ?
    • by ebuck ( 585470 ) on Monday July 21, 2003 @01:36PM (#6491871)
      As I don my flame-proof suit.

      "No, it's an extension of vi!"

      WARNING: The above message was intended to be humorous, the humor impaired should press the little X button in the top right hand corner to prevent confusion.
    • It's an EMACS clone then ?

      Yes. :-)

      Well, at a higher level it seems to be. Just based on Java instead of lisp. It seems that they've taken a similar approach for similar reasons (including 'by programmers, for programmers'). And now I currently jump between both for doing Java work (Eclipse and Emacs+JDEE)

    • by Jack Greenbaum ( 7020 ) on Monday July 21, 2003 @02:40PM (#6492564) Homepage Journal
      I try not to reply to trolls, but I've got to spread some good news for my fellow EMACS brethren who have been been looking for a modern development environment that has few compromises coming from EMACS. I can say that Eclipse is the first IDE with EMACS bindings that I've felt comfortable with. The EMACS key bindings actually work, and work well. For example you can set the mark then move the point. Compare this to other commercial IDEs that consider substituting cntl-w for cntl-x as "EMACS mode", even though you still must select the text with the mouse.

      But wait, there's more! With eclipse the EMACS work style that I use is even better than in EMACS because dabrevs (alt-/) work much better. In eclipse dabrevs are not just a textual expansion as in EMACS, rather it is context sensitive based on the jars you have in your class path as it should be in an Jave IDE. Say what you want about Visual Basic, but M$FT got this right a long time ago.

      Of course we had all of this in ZMACS on the Symbolics back in the 80's, but what goes around comes around ...

      -- Jack

      • by captredballs ( 71364 ) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:16PM (#6492957) Homepage
        Yeah, but it still isn't emacs.

        There is a combination of an eclipse plugin and an emacs mode that allows you so used emacs as an external editor. It isn't perfect, particularly in that it crashes emacs sometimes, but it really improves my dev env, since I can use the editor I'm most comfortable in while still being able to take advantage of eclipse.

        jde-eclipse/RemoteEclipse []
      • What version of eclipse are you using? I keep running across Emacs bindings that I want but don't have (M-c for instance, or C-u C-SPC). Not even C-k C-y works, let alone M-y. C-s C-s doesn't work, C-s C-w doesn't do what it's supposed to do, C-s doesn't set mark....

        I'm using WSAD 5.0, which is based on Eclipse 2.0.2, and I can say that for me, the Emacs bindings are just close enough to get me going for a couple seconds before I slam into a wall of incompatibility. So far, I like Eclipse 2 as an IDE,
      • But wait, there's more! With eclipse the EMACS work style that I use is even better than in EMACS because dabrevs (alt-/) work much better. In eclipse dabrevs are not just a textual expansion as in EMACS, rather it is context sensitive based on the jars you have in your class path as it should be in an Jave IDE.

        Well, if you want that in Emacs, just install JDEE []. That gives you Code Completion with a default binding of C-c C-v C-. (and, yes, you can easily change that if you want) Screenshot []. Of course,

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 21, 2003 @01:34PM (#6491853)
    Even during an Eclipse, it's still unsafe to look at Sun [].
  • by mark_lybarger ( 199098 ) on Monday July 21, 2003 @01:42PM (#6491930)
    i've got this book as well as the slightly outdated netbeans book from oreilly. the netbeans book is miles better than the eclipse book. the eclipse book definately reads like an ibm type book. there are not enough pictures and walk throughs as there are explaining every single widget/button/option in extreme wordy detail.

    the netbeans was an overall easy read and got the user quickly familiar with the parts of the ide they needed to use.

    i'm a heavy eclipse user during my day job mainly b/c i think it's slightly nicer on win32, and i like the debugger more than netbeans. eclipse also seems to require slightly memory footprint and since i haven't yet convinced my manager that having more than 384MB of memory for a java development ide and running a local wl server is absolutely necessarry for maintaining some level of sanity, i'm using what works best for me. at home on a linux platform, i prefer netbeans just because it looks and feels nicer. the gtk+ on linux isn't as nice as the native java look and feel. just my personal preferance.
  • by B3ryllium ( 571199 ) on Monday July 21, 2003 @01:42PM (#6491935) Homepage
    I dislike the way that Eclipse seems to handle projects.

    I work on multiple projects at once, sometimes projects have sub-projects, and none of them are located on my local machine. The way Eclipse handles them is ... less than desirable, in my experience.

    What I really like about Eclipse is the PHP addon, with its function/class outline view. I just wish that, if projects were properly implemented, that the addon would be able to outline all of the functions in the entire project. Now THAT would be cool.
    • you didn't specifically mention what it is about eclipse's project handling that you don't like. i would mention that you can generally organize your work such that it makes using the ide much easier. eclipse gives you the ability to exclude certain directories for each project.
      • It's mostly just that I prefer the HomeSite method of project management.

        HomeSite creates a project file (projectname.apf) in the top folder of the project. It contains a complete list of all the files in the project, and can organize it either by physical folders, or by having virtual folders (sort of like symbolic links, I suppose). All of these .apf files are stored in the registry (eww, I know), and come up in a drop-down list so that users can instantly switch between projects. You can also define pro
          • HomeSite creates a project file (projectname.apf) in the top folder of the project. It contains a complete list of all the files in the project, and can organize it either by physical folders

          This is analogous to how Eclipse does things. Each project is a separate entity. A project can link to different parts of the file system ("virtual" folders), potentially allowing files to be shared between multiple projects. And you can define filters (working sets in Eclipse terminology) that determine what's show

          • I've only used Eclipse 2.0.2 - if what you say is true, I think it might be time to update :) The PHP outline is courtesy of the WebSphere plugin, afaik.
          • I've hit a catch-22 situation (after upgrading Eclipse), which the HomeSite methodology avoids.

            I cannot create "" and "confuzzled" projects in Eclipse. Why? "C:\Internet\www\confuzzled and C:\Internet\www\ overlap".

            HomeSite doesn't have that problem.

            No, working sets don't help, as I cannot create a working set without first having defined a project. Therefore, catch-22.
            • Eclipse doesn't yet support true nested projects, and directories must not overlap. You can probably mess around with exclusions and make it work somehow, but I probably wouldn't do it personally. Splitting the project into two orthogonal directories sounds like a small sacrifice to make, though.

              A more appropriate candidate for nested projects, imho, is API/implementation/test separation, and other subset/layer dependency issues.

              For example, let's say your framework project has an interface package and

    • by Samrobb ( 12731 ) on Monday July 21, 2003 @01:59PM (#6492084) Homepage Journal
      I dislike the way that Eclipse seems to handle projects.

      Then let the team know.

      They're currently working on the 3.0 release for Eclipse - one of the topics discussed on the development mailing lists a while back was properly supporting sub-projects. The primary Eclipse team was asking users to submit information on how they would like to see Eclipse support nested projects. If you look through their bug database, you should be able to find the relevant bugzilla entries along with the attached discussions.

  • by fatarfy ( 319180 ) on Monday July 21, 2003 @01:56PM (#6492055)
    Here are the new features from the Eclipse 3.0 Milestones 1 and 2.
    Got these links off blogdex [] this morning.

    Milestone 1: 00306051737/eclipse-news-M1.html []
    Milestone 2: M2-200307181617/eclipse-news-M2.html []

    I use WSAD and Eclipse 2.0 regularly. WSAD's (Based on Eclipse 1.0) java editor is weak, but the editor in Eclipse 2.0 is among the best I have ever used.
  • Fabulous! (Score:5, Funny)

    by jpsst34 ( 582349 ) on Monday July 21, 2003 @01:58PM (#6492074) Journal
    Sure, Eclipse [] is good, but does it give your mouth a good clean feeling, no matter what []?
  • Development Use (Score:5, Interesting)

    by blackmonday ( 607916 ) on Monday July 21, 2003 @02:17PM (#6492246) Homepage
    Borland should be afraid. I develop java with Eclipse pretty much exclusively now, and if you're doing server-side java you don't really need anything else. Only thing I haven't figured out how to do is deploy EJB's like Jetace (I use Websphere). Anyone know? Can I export the EJB completely from within Eclipse?

    Back on track, check out this plugin: PMD []. It scans your classes for unused variables and a few other things. Some code our company paid for had literally hundred of unused strings in a class!

    • And for a sample of what unused and duplicated code PMD has found in various SourceForge apps, check out the PMD scoreboard [].

    • Re:Development Use (Score:2, Interesting)

      by hlee ( 518174 )
      Borland is certainly concerned.. when they discovered we weren't going to renew our JBuilder licenses with many of us going over to Eclipse, they sent down a product manager to give us a presentation. At the end of the day, it became especially clear to us that we certainly wouldn't fork out US$3000 or even 1000 for JUST an IDE. Instead, we're spending our budget on Together Control Center (which Borland acquired from TogetherSoft) licenses instead, which has superior round trip engineering to Rational Rose
  • I can't seem to find any.
  • How about JFACE? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by linuxlover ( 40375 ) on Monday July 21, 2003 @02:29PM (#6492409) Homepage
    Most Eclipse books (there are only 2 I think) & tutorial are concentrated on developing plugins.

    Eclipse plugins are indeed cool. But what is lacking is good docs for developing stand alone JFace (equivalant of javax.swing) applications. SWT is much talked about being an alternative to Swing. but still, I don't see much documentation on developing stand alone applications.

    For example, I have a small Swing GUI program, size of my program jar is ~1M. I'd love to convert it to SWT/JFace. But I don't want to convert it into a plugin. Because then I'd have to distribute Eclipse work bench with it. The 'minimal' eclipse is around ~12M. So my distribution file size increased 10 fold!

    any pointers appreciated.
    thanks ./LL
  • For those like me... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Aanallein ( 556209 ) on Monday July 21, 2003 @02:37PM (#6492514)
    ...who'd never heard of this IDE before, and always want screenshots to quickly judge for themselves if something is worth a further look:
    screenshot 1 [], screenshot 2 [], screenshot 3 []. (They're kinda old, so undoubtedly this thing has evolved quite a bit further since then.)
  • by Watts ( 3033 ) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:03PM (#6492824)

    ..for what I believe is their current flagship Java development tool, WebSphere Studio Application Developer. []

    WSAD is a lot bulkier than Eclipse, and integrates strongly with WebSphere for debugging. It also includes a lot more project types than Eclipse, although there are some Eclipse plugins that add similar functionality.

    • by valkraider ( 611225 ) on Monday July 21, 2003 @04:17PM (#6493635) Journal
      I have been using WSAD for more than a year now. I would actually advise against it, our experience has been that it is really really slow - especially with large codebases. It is also a bit buggy, and I dislike that it hides too many details from the developers - but then when they break it is almost impossible to track down and fix. WSAD does not like ANY manual editing of important files related to EJBs and such. We currently have almost 20 developers using WSAD and regret our choice. Especially the code migration / porting projects.

      Just one opinion though, YMMV. We currently have a few tickets open with IBM that they can't seem to resolve - that work fine in WebLogic and SilverStream and JBoss environments.

      This is all under windows, I have no experience with WSAD under linux.
      • I just got off the phone with our IBM pre-sales-tech account manager guy. He said that WSAD 5.1 is due out very shortly. (He told me a date which I am not at liberty to disclose).

        He said that speed is the #1 complaint (it takes us 45 minutes to refresh/rebuild and another 45 to generate deploy/RMIC code).

        To anyone looking at WSAD - make sure to try it with large code sets if you can... And be aware that the WSAD User Interface is BULKY, Confusing, and takes a good amount of adjustment too.
  • by bojolais ( 72005 ) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:30PM (#6493122) Homepage
    Heavyweight chapter on plug-in development? The Java Developer's Guild to Eclipse (Sherry Shavor, Jim D'Anjou, Dan Kehn, Scott Fairbrother, John Kellerman, Pat McCarthy) has a far better section (over half the book) on plug-in development. From what I can tell, the tutorial section of the book is well-done, though I haven't spent much time with it.

    If you've ever used Eclipse, I'd recommend the other book. If you're completely new to Eclipse, check out the included tutorials. They're surprisingly well-done.
  • Try Eclipse for CVS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Drakonian ( 518722 ) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:58PM (#6493414) Homepage
    Eclipse is a fantastic IDE, especially if you are a Java developer. There is a very active community as well, check into the Eclipse newsgroups if you have comments/questions.

    Even if you aren't a Java programmer, it may be worth having a look at Eclipse as a CVS client. Most graphical CVS clients rub me the wrong way. WinCVS is difficult to use and not intuitive. Try Eclipse - it actually lets you look at the projects on the repository and lets you view the resource history to compare any two files. The branching and mergeing features are very nice as well.

  • As I understand it Eclipse is a Java application. But on my Windows installation, Eclipse is started by double clicking a small exe file on my computer. I reckon this is a small stub file of some sort.

    Does anyone here know how to create exe files that'll start a Java application? Starting an application with an exe file is slightly more sexy than with a bat file (this may be a personal preference of mine, but still...).

    Some Java apps I've used, such as LimeWire, seems to be a binary exe file and perhap
  • by Canis Latrans ( 634562 ) on Monday July 21, 2003 @05:32PM (#6494263)
    One of the most impressive features that I have seen in Eclipse, and a couple of other Java IDEs (CodeGuide for instance) is the ability to parse the code as you are typing it, and report all compiler errors to you (by underlining the problems in red), before you actually do a full compile.

    To me, this feature seems revolutionary. I after discovering it, I had a hard time going back to coding C++ where no such tools exist (to my knowledge). I am always surprised that not many Java programmers seem to know or care about this kind of on-the-fly syntax checking. Coding is much more fun when you can be aware of your mistakes the moment you make them, rather than having to go back and fix them all after you've already forgotten what you were thinking.
    • Check out Visual Assist From Whole Tomato Software :

      its been a while since I used it, so I don't know if it oes all that you want...
    • agree (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ragnar ( 3268 )
      Netbeans also has support for this and I'm hooked. Another tool I make extensive use of is PMD [], which helps to detect various bad habits in coding. I'm not sure about eclipse, but I know there is a netbeans plug-in to show these things in real-time. I've found it handy.
  • Ok, it's a while since I used eclipse as well as IBM's Websphere developer, but both seemed to suck big time compared to JBuilder. Sure, they were better than Visual Age (blech!). But JBuilder, at least to me, seems super-well designed. It always seems to "just work", and do what I want. And when I want to do something new, it always seems intuitive. And the features are great, always seeming to get better in each new release.

    Don't get me wrong, if Eclipse is free, I can envisage one day switching. But as
    • I used to be the exact same way. Then one day, I tried IDEA and work has never been the same. Not free, but very cheap, and so close to JBuilder that there was pretty much no learning curve. And it has alot of the "Enterprise" features that Borland charges 2600 bucks for. Try it, you'll like it ;-)

Solutions are obvious if one only has the optical power to observe them over the horizon. -- K.A. Arsdall