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Programming IT Technology

Picking the Right Eclipse Distribution 78

Someone over at IBM Developerworks who prefers anonymity writes "Depending on what you want to do, there is probably a commercial or free distro built on the Eclipse platform waiting for you. From C/C++, Ruby, PHP, Groovy, Java, and Web development, you can use an IDE built on Eclipse to help you. The big question is: Which Eclipse distribution is right for you?"
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Picking the Right Eclipse Distribution

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Idk...my bff Jill?
  • Netbeans ofcourse! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Eclipse is so old school. Get in the game and try Netbeans, it's much improved and awesomely better than Eclipse.
  • Photran of course!
    It's what all the cool kids are using.

    In truth, I don't really care which components are bundled with installer X, Y or Z - I'll end up downloading what I need to add to my base installation anyway.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Z00L00K ( 682162 )
      I start with the JDT and then add plugins as I need them, normally WST and it's requirements. Sometimes also Subclipse.

      It's all matter of taste and what you need. The good thing with Eclipse is that it's relatively easy to start with and you can adapt it to your needs.

    • Have you tried Yoxos? I've yet to try Photran, but haven't needed anything other than yoxos or an update site since about late 3.1/early 3.2. Does it do dependency resolution for plugins?
  • Web Development (Score:3, Informative)

    by antimatter15 ( 1261618 ) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @04:56PM (#23538253) Homepage
    I use the http://aptana.com/ [aptana.com] eclipse distribution for web development. Its great for PHP, RoR, JavaScript, HTML, etc. But I don't see it mentioned anywhere
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If you want an editor: Vim.
    If you want an OS: Emacs.

    But not slow Eclipse.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by sinclair44 ( 728189 )
      Indeed. My "IDE" is a bunch of xterms in a good tiling window manager (ion3 in my case, with vim in most of the terminals). If anyone hasn't at least tried playing around with xterm + vim/emacs/joe/etc + ion/ratpoision/etc, you should give it a whirl for a while. I find I really really like it, after being addicted to eclipse for quite a while.
    • by Mantaar ( 1139339 ) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @07:26PM (#23539161) Homepage
      You're wrong. Most people are. That's because they don't know about the awesomeness that is eclim [sf.net]. It's a nifty little plugin that keeps a headless Eclipse instance running and exports its features to vim. So you can have automatic code highlighting, manage your classpath efficiently, have your get/setters done automatically, auto-completion, auto-whatnot.

      It's great! Give it a try. I would never use Eclipse itself, but I wouldn't want to miss eclim...
    • A good IDE like Eclipse offers:
      1. Auto-complete - if you have an object "foo", type "foo." and it will give you a scrollable list of all methods and variables of foo legally accessible from the current context along with their parameter list
      2. Hot-key recompiling of your entire project
      3. Handy refactoring methods - for example, select a file, right click, select refactor, move and rename to another package, and then Eclipse moves the file and updates all package imports and name references in your entire
  • by Simon (S2) ( 600188 ) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @05:06PM (#23538311) Homepage
    Since Eclipse is an IDE, and I don't really like IDEs, I use Jedit in Windows, and Kate in linux for my development.
    What editor do you other slashdotters use? Maybe you know one I have never heard of that is the holy grail.

    (Emacs vs vi posts coming in 3..2..1..) :)
    • by pembo13 ( 770295 )
      UltraEdit/Notepad++ in Windows, Vim in the Linux console, and Kate (sometimes Kdevelop) in Linux GUI.
    • by rduke15 ( 721841 )
      In Windows, as someone else already mentioned: UltraEdit and Notepad++. I prefer Ultra Edit, but it's expensive. On all machines, I always install Notepad++, which is free, good, and has better syntax management than my old version of UE.

      In Linux, I use MC's built-in editor (mcedit) and Kate when I have a GUI. Will read the comments for other suggestions...
      • In Linux, I use MC's built-in editor (mcedit)
        I did not know about mcedit. Thanks for the hint, will give it a try.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Forbman ( 794277 )
        $50US for UltraEdit is expensive? Uhhh...ok.

        UltraEdit is cool for "column edit" mode. RegExps only go so far.

        But, other than that, I use SciTE. UltraEdit these days is getting too bloated...

        • by rduke15 ( 721841 )

          $50US for UltraEdit is expensive? Uhhh...ok.
          Not really. Sorry, I somehow thought I remembered it was $90 a long time ago. At a time when the $ was much more expensive than it is now. Anyway, I can't really remember, because I didn't pay for it myself.

          And I'm still using that old version 8. I see it's at 14 now...

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by teh moges ( 875080 )
      Please, nobody uses emacs anymore...
    • PIDA, it loves you! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Shazow ( 263582 ) <andrey.petrovNO@SPAMshazow.net> on Sunday May 25, 2008 @08:56PM (#23539707) Homepage
      I use PIDA [pida.co.uk], because it loves me.

      It's more of an IDE "container" that handles things like file browsing, buffer management, multiple projects, consoles, TODO/FIXME comments, pastebin, and more. It supports vim, emacs, and others. Makes life much easier. Personally, I use the vim mode.

      Nothing quite like having an IDE tell me it loves me each morning.

      - shazow
  • From C/C++, Ruby, PHP, Groovy, Java, and Web development

    Groovy. Really?
    • by Allador ( 537449 )
      What is your complaint about Groovy [codehaus.org]?

      Lets you write code very similar to Ruby if you want, but its just java on the back-end, running on the JVM.
      • Well, I wasn't really complaining. It was just a joke.

        That being said, I've got nothing against Groovy, or BeanShell, or PNuts, or any of that ilk. But let's be realistic, it's only been around for *maybe* four years, and to I would suggest most people consider it a niche language that hasn't been around long enough to avoid the "flavor-of-the-month" label.

        Since the OP was advocating Eclipse as a universal development environment, it seemed odd to leave out Perl, Python, Lisp, and others, but still include
  • None of them (Score:3, Informative)

    by jlarocco ( 851450 ) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @05:27PM (#23538419) Homepage

    Eclipse sucks. It uses 10x more memory than it should, it's a gigantic download, it's slow, the user interface is annoying, it takes forever to start, getting support for new file types requires downloading dozens of megabytes of "plugins", the autocomplete is slow, it only allows you to do one thing at a time (i.e. try configuring build settings and starting a build at the same time), outside of installing (or creating) a new "plugin" it's not very customizable, different "project" types have radically different interfaces, ...

    I could go on all day. I'll stick with Emacs, thanks.

    • MOD PARENT UP (Score:1, Insightful)

      Eclipse was impressive for a time, primarily for it's refactoring and intellisense capabilities. Now ever editor and it's mother can do that, and eclipse has *major* stability issues.

      I don't think I've ever worked on an eclipse project for significant time without it crashing. The biggest issue tends to be eclipse *running out of memory* on big projects. This often still occurs when I give eclipse a gigabyte or more of memory to work with. How the hell is eclipse using that much memory?

      Also, most of eclipse
      • by pbaer ( 833011 )
        Netbeans might have memory issues as you scale up what you're doing with it, but I've never had memory issues with it and I have had memory issues with eclipse.
      • On the java java ide front there is:
        netbeans (by sun) ...
        I can't speak as to whether these java IDE's have solved the memory problem, but they can't possibly be as bad as eclipse.

        Netbeans is. At least as far as being unusable on a non-uber machine. I was taking a Java course last semester (thankfully, I don't have to use it for work. I loathe java), and used vim for the basic java stuff, but in the end when we got to the JSP and Web App crap, I installed netbeans. When it used up 590 MB of my laptop's 512MB (mm... swap thrashing), I gave up and ran it on my 2G desktop.


    • by talksinmaths ( 199235 ) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @07:48PM (#23539281) Homepage
      try configuring build settings and starting a build at the same time

      When I read that, I couldn't help but think of this:

      Zapp: The key to victory is discipline, and that means a well made bed. You will practice until you can make your bed in your sleep.
      Fry: You mean while I'm sleeping in it?
      Zapp: You won't have time for sleeping soldier, not with all the bed making you'll be doing.

    • by samkass ( 174571 )
      I find your post extremely amusing... most of your list used to be applied to Emacs compared to vi back in my day.

      Since my company pays for IntelliJ I don't have to deal with Eclipse, but I've used it a few times and, well, eh, it's just another IDE.
      • I used to absolutely NAIL people with the truth. EMACS uses 8 megs just to run. It's a bloated overworked pig of a program. No wonder there has to be an AI therapist included in there. Zing!

        It's been a long time since that actually worked. Now I use Eclipse.
      • Oh, I definitely noticed that. But let me put it this way... if Emacs is terrible for using "Eight megs and constantly swapping", there's really no excuse for Eclipse using 800 megs with far fewer features.

        • there's really no excuse for Eclipse using 800 megs with far fewer features.

          I'm not sure where you got your numbers, but you're way off for Eclipse memory stats. I use Eclipse for Java, PHP (PDT), CFM (cfeclipse), Subversion (subclipse), controlling my MySQL databases (Data Tools), and Eclipse plugin development (PDE). With 4 Java projects, 2 PHP projects and one ColdFusion project open for the past week, Eclipse is using 370MB of memory. Of course the swap file is huge, but even Firefox has a swap file over a GB right now.

          As for the features, emacs is feature rich, but I

          • I'm not sure where you got your numbers, but you're way off for Eclipse memory stats.

            LOL! I have seen, with my own eyes, Eclipse use well over 800 megs. If it weren't against work policy, I would post a screenshot.

            I can appreciate that Emacs is best for you, but please don't try to sell it as better for everyone.

            Escuse me? Could you point out where I said anybody else should use Emacs? I was clearly listing the reasons I prefer Emacs over Eclipse. Never did I say anybody else should use Emacs o

            • Escuse me? Could you point out where I said anybody else should use Emacs? I was clearly listing the reasons I prefer Emacs over Eclipse. Never did I say anybody else should use Emacs over Eclipse. If you could point out where I did otherwise, I'd like to see it.

              You're right, you did only say that you would stick to Emacs. I suppose I just assumed that answering a question of "What Eclipse distro should I use" with "None of them, Eclipse sucks, I'm sticking to Emacs" implied that you were recommending Emacs over Eclipse to the asker (and by extension, the Slashdot readers.) I'll answer the posted comments and not my own interpretation next time.

              On a related note, if your Eclipse installation is using more than 800MB of active memory, you have a serious probl

  • INTERCAL? (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    But is there an Eclipse distro designed for serious INTERCAL development? I don't see one.
  • "IBM developer" links to an IBM website promoting an IBM product? Congratulations, you just posted a Slashvertisement on the the front page!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It lasts longer and solar burns my eyes.
  • by Anrego ( 830717 ) * on Sunday May 25, 2008 @06:01PM (#23538639)
    I actually like eclipse.

    It's ability to deal with multiple languages, and especially it's perspective system makes my job a lot easier.

    I think there are really two reasons people don't like eclipse.

    The first is obvious. It's a bloated resource hungry Java application. I definitely agree with this. For eclipse to be usable you need a pretty beefy machine. A lot of people refuse to use eclipse, even if they have a powerful machine, just on the principle that it is so damned bloated.

    The second is that the "out of the box" settings are terrible. Toolbars are in awkward places, important options are buried, and of course things like "highlighting occurrences", something I have _never_ understood the point of, are enabled by default. Eclipse takes a fair bit of tweaking before it becomes usable.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by zarr ( 724629 )
      I think "highlight occurences" is one of Eclipse's killer-features. It makes unfamiliar code _so_ much easier to figure out!
    • I agree (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Gazzonyx ( 982402 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `grebnevol.ttocs'> on Sunday May 25, 2008 @06:47PM (#23538907)
      I agree with your assessment, and I really do like eclipse. The bloat isn't too bad when you consider the trade-off of flexibility; on any given day, being a software development major with an internship, I may be using any one or more of 4 OSes, and any number of flavors thereof. I may also be using any one of several desktops between school, home, and work. Furthermore, I may be using any number of languages.

      Eclipse is the only IDE that I've found that can work across all these scenarios, and leave me with the same IDE across multiple languages. I don't have to worry about remembering the layout of multiple IDEs for each language or OS, and that makes me more productive. I install the plugins that I need (YOXOS, FTW!), and I can drop the eclipse directory on a network share, USB drive, or live CD and have the same environment everywhere I go. Every computer has a JRE installed these days. Also, each summer they do an incredible job of releasing multiple projects on the same day. The built in debugger is great, too. I've yet to find a better way to debug multi-threaded apps. Finally, you can specify, at launch, the memory parameters for the IDE via the normal JRE flags (-xmms, -xmlimit, etc.) if you aren't on such a beefy machine. But then again, if you're developing and debugging any language 'higher' than c/c++ these days, your sanity will depend on having a fairly beefy machine. Especially if you want to have firefox open on one screen and your IDE open in another (although, you can open firefox in Eclipse if you haven't the extra screen real estate).

      It's unfortunate that the in crowd, armed with mostly FUD and occasional actual arguments, has decided that Eclipse is 'teh sux0rz'. I've yet to find many people who can put up much of an argument against Eclipse that doesn't center around; "Java is slow" (1996 wants their troll back, modern JITs are nearly as fast as native machine code), "it's ugly" (right, does it work?), "it uses too much memory" (ok, have you bothered to change your JRE memory settings?), "it's a huge download" (without JRE the base download is less than 100 MB), "dependency chasing sucks" (true, have you tried YOXOS?), "I'd prefer emacs" (I prefer vi, but you won't catch me writing or debugging a high level language in it). To each his own, but Eclipse is a great IDE if you give it a shot.
      • by Raenex ( 947668 )
        Highlighting occurrences is one of my favorite features. It's great to double-click on an variable/method/class and see where it's used throughout the file. You can even do stuff like highlight embedded returns in a method.

        However, there is one preference I had to change to make it usable: I unset "Keep marks when the selection changes", so that if you click away the highlighting goes away too. Without that setting I was annoyed too when I first came across this feature.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Magic5Ball ( 188725 )
      I've not had to use Eclipse in some time now, so please forgive a simple question: What is it about Eclipse's current modules/packaging/customization/business logic that makes the choice of distribution necessary? Is it no longer as simple as just installing plugins?
      • No, this it's still just plugins, there's just a lot of them. It's just like a Linux distro these days. Sure, you could roll your own, but your usage will probably fall in to a certain category where there is a software (plugin) stack that everyone else with that usage pattern will have. So, it's easier to just hit the ground running with a preconfigured stack. Also, as with Linux distros, each distro has its own automated, dependency checking and gathering, interface. They also tell you when there are
  • VIM for the masses (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Because we don't want an editor that starts up 1 hour [emacs].
  • my 2 cents (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    picking an eclipse distro is a lot like picking your ass. A little weird and painful at first, but then it starts to feel real good. Then your mom walks in and you're left with a deep sense of shame and a stinky finger.
  • by aauu ( 46157 ) *
    Are there any considerations for c#/mono development. I need to connect to Oracle, MySQL and SQL Server from Linux. c#/mono has this connectivity out of the box.
  • by mritunjai ( 518932 ) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @07:35PM (#23539213) Homepage
    I was an avid user of eclipse for about 3 years. I'd say avid user _and_ advocate!

    Then I got sick of the direction it took around 3.1 release. Here are they in no specific order:

    * No direction sense in platform development: Eclipse was supposed to be an application development platform. However, it seemed the Eclipse foundation was eager to include each and every requirement of its members (the big names!). The platform became a mess that I just can't figure out how to update my code to 3.x line. The documentation was _pathetic_ and things just don't work.

    * The documentation SUCKS: Did I mention it already ? Did I mention that most of it either just doesn't exist or hasn't been updated for 3.x ? Did I mention that the members mostly try to make money around "training" people in it ?

    * The plugin nightmare: The plugin and update system just doesn't work! Yes there are a lot of plugins available, but trying to keep track of them and their dependencies is a nightmare. Some plugin needs GEF 2.1 an other needs 2.3. The dependency hell was unmanageable. Mostly it was like that - I would create an installation and once I got it working "somehow", I wouldn't touch it! Updating it would really mean creating another eclipse installation and mucking about there till I got things "right" and only then switching to it.

    * J2EE Support - rather the lack of it: MyEclipse was best then. It sucked.

    I went there just yesterday, and for life of me couldn't figure out why they split it into so many distros... and over that if I need a GUIDE to tell me what is right for me - well they're not doing it right then!

    I tried Netbeans 6 once. Now with Netbeans 6.1 - It's just perfect. It *just* works and DOES NOT nag me! When I'm doing my work I want my tools to work right.

    Play when playtime, work when time to work! Netbeans 6.1 fits that *perfectly*. Oh, that and the jVi plugin for netbeans which provides "optional" Vi/Vim mode for Netbeans editor and I'm just set.

    Did I mention that Netbeans is best when it comes to J2EE/Web development ?

    • Did I mention that Netbeans is best when it comes to J2EE/Web development ?
      Is this some kind of trick question?
    • I tried NetBeans the other day. Unfortunately, when I tried to run NetBeans on one machine and display it on another machine, it just showed up as a big, empty gray box. :(

      I found a few bug reports related to Swing applications (such as NetBeans) having this behavior in certain situations, but Sun doesn't seem very interested in fixing the problem. It's frustrating because every other X application (including Eclipse, which is not based on Swing) works just fine and dandy over the network.

      Since I e

      • by lytles ( 24756 )
        i'm doing this, and it works for me. from linux (old suse) to linux (current ubuntu). works fine for me.

        doubt it will help, but worth trying. rm -R your .netbeans/var/cache directory. doing this also lets you make sane backups of the .netbeans dir. good luck
        • I'm not sure why this problem occurs for me and not for you. I'm attempting to run NetBeans 6.1 with Sun's JDK 1.6.0_06 (64-bit) on an Ubuntu 8.04 box (amd64) and displaying it on an Ubuntu 7.04 box (also amd64). It turns out that Netbeans was not hung, it was just REALLY slow. Slow as in "takes a minute and a half to draw the screen" slow. I tried your suggestion about the cache directory, but it didn't help. I did get curious, though, and looked into the matter a little further.

          I performed some X

    • Seriously, the plugin system works so freaking badly. I have had MULTIPLE 3-5 hour install nightmares based around the CDT and the various PHP plugins from a stock Eclipse download.

      Not to mention the problems you run into when you have multiple JREs in Linux.

      Back in the old days, I used Eclipse because Sun's offering ground my computer to a halt. But today, Eclipse does that, and is impossible to manage plugins-wise.

      • Not to mention the problems you run into when you have multiple JREs in Linux.
        I have 4 or 5 JREs installed, what's the problem?
        • Maybe it's just me, but I've had trouble getting it to stay configured with one JRE without using command-line options.
    • I tried Netbeans 6 once.
      Funny coincidence, about 2 months ago I decided to try out Netbeans.

      I'm still waiting for it to load. But when it finally finishes, I bet it will be real good. I can hardly wait.
  • by pbaer ( 833011 )
    I've never really understood eclipse's popularity. It has a bad UI, it's slow and has dumb default settings (compile on save). I've found netbeans to be much better in all three areas, but mainly the UI. Granted, I've only used eclipse/netbeans for small java projects (1k loc). So does eclipse have some killer feature that I don't know about?
    • I'm eager to try something better - can you point me to a better IDE for me? I'm not on it full-time and don't want to get deep, but I need to maintain/develop some Java apps, and need an IDE for development/debugging small Java apps for win32 desktop use, I currently use Eclipse for that. What would be a better choice?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MadAndy ( 122592 )
      Ummmm... I *love* the compile on save - errors highlight as you make them, and you thump the run button and your project just runs. For small projects, why would you ever turn it off?

      I have to admit I know nothing about Eclipse distros, I just downloaded this thing called Europa that the Eclipse site pointed me at, and never looked back - I've had very little problems with it.

      It's a big beastie alright, and digging thru the options (esp for J2ME work) can be a mission. Could use a tidy-up. The other

  • After trying to upgrade my eclipse environment I was left with a non working installation, that will spill out Java errors like hell. Since I knew how long it would take to set up all the plugins again in a new installation of eclipse, I hat to think about what it was that I really need as a developer. Since I used Emacs before switching to Eclipse, it is really an Editor need. Komodo Edit seems the right choice for me right now. Different language support is available out of the box. That tastes good enoug

"The pathology is to want control, not that you ever get it, because of course you never do." -- Gregory Bateson