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Is Eclipse really this hard? And how did it get so popular?

Jeff Salter
Greenhorn

Joined: Jan 09, 2004
Posts: 9
I've been programming professionally for 8 years, using C, C++, Java, VB, ASP, PHP, SQL, JavaScript and HTML. I've also done lot's of hardware, database, and network deployment/administration.

I've used many different programming tools / IDEs / editors / command line tools. Among them are Visual Basic, Visual C++, KDevelop, Emacs, vi, Glade, QT Designer, JBuilder, jEdit, DrJava, Gedit, Kate, gcc, make, Ant, and NetBeans.

With all of these I've always been able to get up and running with basic stuff, then more complicated stuff, in relatively short order. No fuss, no muss (or very little, or nothing I couldn't overcome easily).

But I've been (trying) to use Eclipse lately, being that I'm a relative newbie to the Java/J2EE arena, and being that I not only want to be proficient with the common technologies (J2SE, JSP, Servlets, EJB, JDBC, RMI, JNDI, Tomcat, Ant, JUnit), but also the common IDEs, and finally being that Eclipse, and Eclipse based IDEs and Eclipse plug-ins, are very are all very popular and an apparent defacto standard.

I've been able to do very basic stuff - basic Java classes and SWT examples, and a hello world SWT program. All that is supported fairly easy "out of the box" with Eclipse. However, most Java programmng jobs are on the server side with JSP, Servlets, EJBs etc, so I've been trying to do that stuff with Eclipse via the plug-ins.

All of that has been horribly frustrating. I download stuff. I do the software updates, adding the standard plug-ins. I've installed Tomcat (and attempted the sysdeo Tomcat plugin). I've tried the JBoss stuff. All of it, in spite of seemingly easy tutorials, have led to fingernail-on-chalkboard-frustrating dead-ends, and tons of wasted time.

A friend of mine, who has been a professional developer for 16 years (6 of which have been in the J2EE arena - large Enterprise apps with fortune 500 companies as a consultant), has been trying to learn up on Eclipse J2EE development in his spare time as well. He has run into the same road blocks, and the same extreme frustrations, wasting hours of his time.

By contrast, I've been able to do tons of J2EE stuff with NetBeans, always within a very short amount of trouble free, enjoyable time. I've also done Servlets and JSPs in Tomcat, simply using an editor and the Java SDK in the command line, along with the Admin page of Tomcat. This was a bit of a learning curve at first, but no big deal there after. I've also done Servlets, JSPs, and EJBs in JBuilder, very easily and smoothly. Finally, I've done an EJB using Sun's Java System Application Server, following the online tutorial, and using the SJSAS GUI deploy tool.

My friend has used both JDeveloper and JBuilder in his professional J2EE experience, to great success.

So, both of us can do this stuff, using a plethora of other tools.

Both my friend and myself are reasonably savvy and experienced programmers. We're not ignorant greenhorns. But apparently the Eclipse paradigm/structure/design is a bit over our heads. Or maybe the documentation and tutorials are sub-standard. Or maybe it's just a bad design. I don't know.

I don't want to start a flame war. I don't want to bash Eclipse fans. I just want to point out that for someone new to both Eclipse and NetBeans (the two big rivals for free IDEs), for me NetBeans wins hands down.

But maybe there is that one tutorial or document out there that puts all of the apparant Eclipse design mess into a comprehendable perspective, and ties it all together so that I get "over the hump".

Also of note, I've been wanting to like Eclipse. I'm intrigued by the plug-in architecture, as well as SWT. I have not come into it with a bad attitude.

I also wonder how Eclipse got so popular, and generated such a big eco-system. The plug-in architecture is cool, and obviously offers a great deal of power, flexibility, and extensibility. But that seems to come at a cost in terms of usability, or at least in learnability. IDEs are supposed to make you productive in a relatively short amount of time, not send you into hours of non-productive frustration.

I might get an Eclipse book or two, which might help. But I've never had to do that for an IDE before, and I'm very hesitant to start now.

Any thoughts? Any suggestions?
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 16101
    
  21

I think that probably the biggest difference between Eclipse and other IDEs is something that they tell you right up front: Eclipse is a framework. Know this and understand the concept of Eclipse Perspectives, and you know the 2 most important things. There used to be about a 2-page document that was only semi-hidden on the Eclipse home page that did a passable job of making that clear, and it's how I got my start.

Originally, IDEs tended to generate a lot of stuff that you tinkered with at your peril. Hand-modify the code -- or even the comments -- and the whole project would crash and burn. Possibly beyond repair. This began to change somewhere around Microsoft Visual Studio 6, where you could now change many (though not all) components of the project and the IDE would adapt to your changes. Eclipse has taken that concept and made it a core concept.

I should mention that Eclipse is not a "Java IDE". It is a framework or a platform and it happens that the most common download is configured as a Java IDE, but I've done productive work in Perl, PHP, and other languages in Eclipse and felt perfectly comfortable. Eclipse does especially well in Java, in large part because Java is such an introspective platform. I remember altogether too well trying to cook up tools that could extract documentation out of C++ programs in years gone by, and really appreciate that we live in modern times.

I think your main frustration is that Eclipse isn't providing much in the way of built-in code generation. Let me provide a basic example. But before I begin, let me point out that I have a strict policy that all my projects are IDE-independent. Eclipse is my favorite tool, but to make it to production, the project has to build under Ant.

OK. Here goes:

I want a new servlet. I've created a new Java project, and set up the project properties (build libraries) to include J2EE libraries so it'll know about servlets and JSP tags. OK. First gripe. Why did I have to do this manually? Why did I even have to know that I HAD to do this? Answer: because Eclipse isn't a J2EE IDE, it's (say it again) a framework. However, I'm well-versed in what J2EE projects need, and Eclipse and Ant, each in their own way are going to require some definitions. And, BTW, I have about 4 different versions of Tomcat plus a JBoss on this box, so the fact that I have to tie to one of them instead of relying on a prepackaged set of J2EE defs is actually a benefit. Come to think of it, a lot of the Eclipse plugins are open-source, and Sun hasn't made it all that easy to bundle J2EE components into open-source projects (license restrictions).

OK, so the basic project's in place. Now I create my servlet:

Right-click on the source folder (or on a package name under it, once I've defined some packages) in the Package Explorer. Menu New/Class.

In the dialog box, type "MyServlet". Tab down to "SuperClass", type in HttpS and then hit ctrl-space. I get a dropdown list, so I select "HttpServletRequest". Just because I'm lazy. I could have done it several other ways. Click "Finish".

OK, Gripe #2. I shouldn't have to know that the base class for a servlet is HttpServletRequest. Oh yes you should. Eclipse is a framework. It's helping us, but the only way to get around having to know J2EE to begin with is to find a plugin that will do all that for you.

So now I have a class, with a package, and import, and a constructor. That's not a servlet.

Well actually it is. HttpServlet isn't abstract, or you'd see a little while "X" in a little red circle next to the class definition and mousing over it you'd get a message saying that the class needed some methods, and offering to add them if you'd "click here".

But since we want a useful servlet, we'll just have to override the default behaviors of doGet and doPost (or whatever). Right-mouse click in the class body, select menu Source->Override/Implement methods. Select the checkboxes for doGet and doPost, and skeleton code gets inserted.

Define a String to hold a multivalued HTTP parameter. In the body of doGet, type "String[] myparam = arg0." and do a control-space. A dropdown list appears, and you can select "getParametervalues()".

Drop to a new line. type "for" and hit control-space. You get a dropdownlist that has options for things like "iterate over array". Select it and override items as desired.

Sorry for the verbosity, but I hope that I've made the point. A lot of IDEs will build a project of a specific type for you, but then you're lost when it comes time to take the project out on the road. That is, customize it beyond the limitations of the IDE wizards. In Eclipse, you're in control - more like a surgeon with a very competent helper standing by your side ready to hand you the appropriate instruments at need.

Eclipse can become a very personalized place. There are all sorts of plugins - some of which attempt to remedy its lack of specificity, but the creators of Eclipse have also attempted to ensure that you can extend Eclipse in whatever way is most suitable for you, but allowing you to create your own "cheat sheets", macros, protypes, and - if you're ambitious enough - your own wizards. I don't miss the lack of a webapp project builder, because I clone and modify older webapps, but there are products out there that will give you a lot of leverage, such as Lomboz, or even IBM's WSAD/RAD implementation of Eclipse.

Of course, it might just be that your mind works in a different way. Perhaps Oracle's JDeveloper or Sun's NetBeans would work better.

Choice is a wonderful thing. Sometimes employers even allow you one.


Customer surveys are for companies who didn't pay proper attention to begin with.
Jeff Salter
Greenhorn

Joined: Jan 09, 2004
Posts: 9
Wow! Thanks for the very detailed and intelligent reply.

It kind of makes more sense when you look at Eclipse as a framework rather than a full blown IDE.

Some points:

"I think your main frustration is that Eclipse isn't providing much in the way of built-in code generation. Let me provide a basic example. But before I begin, let me point out that I have a strict policy that all my projects are IDE-independent. Eclipse is my favorite tool, but to make it to production, the project has to build under Ant."

Actually, code generation is nice, but not essential. What I want out of an IDE is an efficient, intuitive, productive code/debug/deploy cycle. Also, I don't want to use the IDE as a crutch - I want to be able to put together Web apps and Enterprise apps by hand, using Ant, a text editor, and command line tools. I want to know what is going on, and I want to be able to work with and deploy the project outside of the IDE. The IDE is only another tool to make the whole process faster, more productive, and more enjoyable.

"I want a new servlet. I've created a new Java project, and set up the project properties (build libraries) to include J2EE libraries so it'll know about servlets and JSP tags. OK. First gripe. Why did I have to do this manually?"

Actually, I don't mind having to do that manually. My problem is that I have been unable to do it manually while following the documentation and various online tutorials to a tee. In each case, the steps go well, up until it does someting that is not documented or the tutorial does not mention or deal with. What ensues is usually at least an hours worth of tinkering, doing more searches through the documentation, finding tutorials on how to overcome the bump I just hit in the tutorial I'm already following, or just banging my head on a wall, and so on and so forth.

I'm quite happy to just use a customizable framework, as my trusty assistant, and manually configure stuff, and not rely on code generation and what not. It's just that I want to be able to do that stuff without endless dead ends. The problem is that with Eclipse none of it seems to be well documented, and the interface/options and process flow is very non-intuitive, at least for me. As I already said, I've been able to do web apps, EJBs, etc, manually without an IDE. That process was much easier, more intuitive, faster, and ultimately more successful than it was with Eclipse. In fact, with Eclipse it has always ended in frustrating failure.

"OK, so the basic project's in place. Now I create my servlet:

Right-click on the source folder (or on a package name under it, once I've defined some packages) in the Package Explorer. Menu New/Class.

In the dialog box, type "MyServlet". Tab down to "SuperClass", type in HttpS and then hit ctrl-space. I get a dropdown list, so I select "HttpServletRequest". Just because I'm lazy. I could have done it several other ways. Click "Finish".

OK, Gripe #2. I shouldn't have to know that the base class for a servlet is HttpServletRequest. Oh yes you should. Eclipse is a framework. It's helping us, but the only way to get around having to know J2EE to begin with is to find a plugin that will do all that for you.

So now I have a class, with a package, and import, and a constructor. That's not a servlet.

Well actually it is. HttpServlet isn't abstract, or you'd see a little while "X" in a little red circle next to the class definition and mousing over it you'd get a message saying that the class needed some methods, and offering to add them if you'd "click here".

But since we want a useful servlet, we'll just have to override the default behaviors of doGet and doPost (or whatever). Right-mouse click in the class body, select menu Source->Override/Implement methods. Select the checkboxes for doGet and doPost, and skeleton code gets inserted.

Define a String to hold a multivalued HTTP parameter. In the body of doGet, type "String[] myparam = arg0." and do a control-space. A dropdown list appears, and you can select "getParametervalues()".

Drop to a new line. type "for" and hit control-space. You get a dropdownlist that has options for things like "iterate over array". Select it and override items as desired.

Sorry for the verbosity, ... "

No problem on the verbosity. In fact, thank you very much for the detailed description of the process.

What you described is a lot of steps, and as a whole rather complex. In essence, Eclipse as the IDE or the Framework, is not really helping you much here. Looking at what you decribed, the first thing that comes to mind is that it would be easier for me to just use an editor with Ant and do everything by hand. Eclipse would only be getting in my way.

But anyway, you obviously like Eclipse and it has worked out for you. That's great. It's also great that many other people like Eclipse. If Eclipse users can be productive with it, more power to 'em.

BTW - do you have any recommendations for online tutorials or for books on how to use Eclipse for Web/J2EE development, ones that make it straight forward and have a high degree of success? If I come across that one thing that gets me over the hump, my opinion of Eclipse will change dramatically.

Until then, NetBeans is really great for me.

And, once again, thank you very much for your detailed, intelligent, and gracious post.
Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast
Marshal

Joined: Jul 08, 2003
Posts: 24187
    
  34

Originally posted by Jeff Salter:
Looking at what you decribed, the first thing that comes to mind is that it would be easier for me to just use an editor with Ant and do everything by hand. Eclipse would only be getting in my way.


He did list a number of steps, but there's also a lot of commentary. The truth is that, if you know how to do what he describes, it takes literally a few seconds to do, ten seconds, tops. You can't do that with an editor and Ant -- at least not without setting up some templates first, off the clock.

My personal take, by the way, is that there are different ways of thinking, all equally valid, and different tools cater to those different ways. Some people want an IDE to act like it's in charge, and to do as much as possible for them. Those people are happy, as a rule, when the IDE limits the possible choices and gives you one recommended way to do things. Those people are happy using having all developers on a project use one specific IDE for the life of a project.

Other people want tools that stay out of the way. They want to be able to rearrange their source files on disk on a whim. They want to be able to edit the files in a project with vi without launching the IDE, and have no ill effects. They want to try different deployment strategies for their J2EE apps.

Eclipse is about 3/4 of the way from the first group to the second. Its project management is a little heavy-handed for my taste. I personally prefer IntelliJ IDEA, which is squarely in the second camp; it gives you maximum leeway. Microsoft IDEs tend to be in the first group, with wizards that make it possible for you to work without ever seeing large swaths of your application code.

I like Eclipse, but I love IDEA. I was a diehard Emacs user for years, until IDEA showed me that in fact an IDE can do much more for you. So that's me. Everybody has to figure out their own personal tastes!


[Jess in Action][AskingGoodQuestions]
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 16101
    
  21

Actually, the reason I like Eclipse over IntelliJ (which is what they make me use at work) is because IntelliJ's closer to the "IDE in Control" model than Eclipse is. In IntelliJ's project display, things that IntelliJ isn't interested in don't "exist". Meaning that I usually end up running IntelliJ and Windows File Explorer at the same time (there's a "Norton Commander" inside IntelliJ, but I'm not real fond of it).

Obviously, Eclipse does something for me, since I've used NotePad, Emacs, IntelliJ, several different versions of the Sun IDE and Eclipse, and Eclipse makes me happiest overall - though I work pretty well with IntelliJ until I start debugging complex projects.

There's several reasons why I use Ant+Eclipse, instead of straight Eclipse:

1. For complex projects, Ant can handle arbitrarily sophisitcated build sequences. Eclipse has plugins for many of these tasks I do, but not all, and I'm not willing to spend the time setting them up anyway.

2. Our ultimate goal here is that to place a system into production, we check the project into version control and send a trigger to an automated build daemon (such as AntHill). So no human (mouse/menu) interaction is a must.

3. I'm dealing with a mixed-IDE environment. Rather than have to re-engineer a project in a pinch, it's always guaranteed that a build can be done via Ant.

4. Microsoft left me scarred by IDE's that seriously broke projects when the IDE was updated. So I swore never to be solely dependent on any IDE or version thereof.

Yes, I am one of those annoying creatures who can't accept someone else's idea of how I should lay out my projects. It's one reason why I'm not a big Maven fan, either.
Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast
Marshal

Joined: Jul 08, 2003
Posts: 24187
    
  34

Originally posted by Tim Holloway:
Actually, the reason I like Eclipse over IntelliJ (which is what they make me use at work) is because IntelliJ's closer to the "IDE in Control" model than Eclipse is. In IntelliJ's project display, things that IntelliJ isn't interested in don't "exist".


I respectfully express that my experience is exactly the opposite. Anything that you put into a directory that IDEA thinks is a project directory immediately shows up in the "Project" view -- even emacs backup files and dotfiles, CVS dotfiles, and other stuff you'd think it would hide. You can tell IDEA to ignore certain directories within a project, if you want. IDEA stores all its project into in a few files, which you can move around as you like, even copying them to another machine. I like it this way.

Eclipse, on the other hand, has this odd notion of a "workspace", which does not (necessarily) correspond to any real filesystem tree. The "Navigator" view maps real directories to individual projects, but it's a "dumb" view that doesn't know anything about Java. If you want a view that knows anything about your classes, you have to use the "Package Explorer" which presents a view fairly far removed from your real disk. Plus you can't just create a project -- you have to "import" a project into Eclipse, and woe be to you if you need to move your files anywhere.

IDEA merges the best of these two views into its Project view. You can see the real filesystem, but "flatten" package directories in a Java-knowledgable way.

Finally, I know that you can come back and tell me how to work around all these issues in Eclipse, just as I am disagreeing with your assesment of IDEA. I think this just reinforces my point that there's no one right tool for everybody. I do think it's amusing that our opinions of the two IDEs on this one point are diametrically opposed: it's very hard to please all of the people all of the time.
Jeff Salter
Greenhorn

Joined: Jan 09, 2004
Posts: 9
Good discussion everyone.

I'm going to be checking out IntelliJ IDEA pretty soon. Reports are that it's very fast and very easy.

I'm finding I'm liking jEdit with plugins quite a bit. Yes, jEdit is just a programmers text editor, but with the (very easy) plugins it becomes a full blown IDE. I've used it to do MVC/Tomcat projects, as well as simple Java apps, as well as Swing apps, doing the code,compile,test,debug cycle all within the jEdit interface. And adding and using the plugins was a snap.
Jeff Salter
Greenhorn

Joined: Jan 09, 2004
Posts: 9
Just to show that I'm not alone in my difficulties with Eclipse, the following is text from an email from my friend I already mentioned, who's been trying to use Eclipse with WTP:

I finally found some negative press on Eclipse - or specifically, the Eclipse WTP. Other people out there are having the same problems, and to the same extent, and these people aren't getting all kinds of responses telling them what ignorant noobs they are. Or many responses at all.

The lack of feedback is what I find curious about Eclipse WTP. Perhaps not many people are using it. Googling things like "Eclipse sucks", "WTP sucks", etc., get very few pertinent hits.
The hits I do find usually involve posts from people with a minor-sounding WTP problem, with no responses.

One of the WTP bashers mentions all the hype that surrounds Eclipse. From what I've seen, I have to agree. I can Google up so many links on "Eclipse is the greatest thing since sliced bread", "Eclipse WTP will do it ALL for you", "Eclipse WTP is ready for download", "Here's how you get Eclipse to work with App Server Foo", and so on. Except when I follow the instructions to the letter, the examples don't work. And I have yet to find a post from anyone who put WTP through a significant number of hoops and reported on their findings - it seems they can't get very far before it breaks, and then they usually chalk it up to their own learning curve, and they don't post any more info on the matter. "Hello World" apps don't mean shit to me (and remember, even they usually don't work under Eclipse). Even when I got the one app to work with Tomcat, I noticed that the Eclipse Code Completion function was fucked up. When I typed a class name in the editor, it gave me a list of methods for the class as expected - but not in alphabetical order, which is how you find method names in Javadoc, and every sensible IDE. Can you imagine trying to work with a class that has 50 or so methods under these circumstances?

Anyway, here are the links. It's mainly some rants on one guy's weblog, with responses via the weblog and from an unrelated forum that had a link to the weblog.

Here's the blog entry with comments (great URL):
http://www.jroller.com/page/robwilliams?entry=more_hilarious_wtp_shenanigans

Here's the other responses to the blog on the javalobby forum:
http://www.javalobby.org/java/forums/m91946131.html


Here's another guy who had trouble with "Hello World".
http://www.eclipsezone.com/eclipse/forums/m91936638.html

And some more posts regarding the URL directly above. This thread is good because one guy makes mention of NetBeans, and the Eclipse apologists immediately pounce on him for mentioning something other than their precious Eclipse:
http://www.eclipsezone.com/eclipse/forums/t49257.html


Here are excerpts from another post I found (verbatim, including dumb spelling errors):

I have used Eclipse for the past months. Eclipse sucks. I mean the platform and the tool. Eclipse commits the cardinal sin of making easy things hard.


I can't begin to describe the numerous, weird and completely bizzarre ways the IDE has *****ed up; suffice it to say that we have thrown away literally hundreds of developer hours watching Eclipse 3.1 do things that no java compiler / editor should ever do.



That's enough evidence for me to give up on Eclipse for now, and any of the variants as well: JBOSS Eclipse (which threw an exception when I tried to connect my app to a server instance); MyEclipseIDE (afraid to try it after all this), and so on. The only reason I kept trying for so long was the absence of negative press, which just shows I wasn't looking hard enough. The Eclipse lovers out there don't really mention WTP, and many of them are praising Eclipse 2.x instead of 3.x. I still don't understand why more people aren't bagging on WTP. Can you imagine the indignation, righteous fury, and high wroth if Microsoft had released something as buggy as WTP in its current form? Or even Sun, for that matter?

In closing, I'm willing to bet that I could have eventually gotten WTP to work great - after I fully learned the Eclipse/WTP architecture, downloaded all the Eclipse source code & made whatever changes I needed, & achieved similar mastery of Tomcat, JBoss, and Geronimo so that I would know what problems were related to the IDE and what were app/server issues. I guess I'll try NetBeans after all. I want the IDE to serve me, not the other way around.


Again, I don't want to bash Eclipse or Eclipse users who like it. But the learning curve, particularily for J2EE stuff, is very significant, and the framework hard to get used to.
Gregg Bolinger
GenRocket Founder
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 15299
    
    6

That's quite an email. What I got out of it though was problems with WTP, which I'd agree whole heartedly with. WTP has a long way to go and J2EE development inside of Eclipse is sketchy if you want cool things syntax highlighting and code assist for XML, HTML, JSP and cool little wizards to drop a Servlet down while filling the web.xml with it's details on the fly. But this is a plugin problem, not specifically an Eclipse problem.

I am forced to use Eclipse at work. I'd rather use IntelliJ IDEA. Like Ernest, I don't think it gets any better. Also note the term IDE is too strong a word for the likes of Eclipse and IDEA. Taking Eclipse up one level from "framework" it becomes an advanced editor with stock plugins for java development. There are plugins like MyEclipseIDE that turn Eclipse into a more full blown IDE. But even the MyEclipseIDE production product is buggy and missing features.

If you look at something like IDEA in terms of an advanced editor, it has everything you need and more. But only for Java. At home I use Eclipse for just a few things. PHP using PHPEclipse and recently I've been doing C/C++ using the CDT plugin. I also use the PyDev plugin for Python/Jython and ShellEd for shell scripting. For Java, I use IDEA. And as has been said, there is nothing wrong with liking Eclipse, there is nothing wrong with hating it. Use the tool that allows you to get the job done the best. I doubt anyone would say "This is a great product, but you didn't use Eclipse". In the end, who gives a rat's ass. Right?


GenRocket - Experts at Building Test Data
Peter Loew
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 06, 2003
Posts: 27
Hello all,

I was pleasantly surprised to find this thread; ironically JavaRanch was my last hope for some help with Eclipse, and I bumped into this thread.

I can totally empathise with Jeff Salter here. I have finally decided to start using Eclipse for my J2EE development and a good few hours ago I downloaded it to attempt a start.

I want to like Eclipse - I really do. All the training courses I've been on already have it up and running with the WTP for J2EE development. Though I use JDeveloper at work, I really want to make the move to Eclipse.

After those few hours of trying to install all the plugins and features just to make it work with J2EE, I have finally given up; at least for the day.

From reading this thread, and from what I now understand about Eclipse, it seems like the learning curve is way too steep.

See, I don't want to have to care about the inner workings of this tool. I don't want to care about learning the framework or its concepts. I don't want to care about how it's built, its architecture, its technologies etc etc. I don't want to care about EMF, GEF, or any other proprietary components. The only thing I care about is using this tool to develop my J2EE Web Apps. Maybe I've got the wrong end of the stick. Maybe Eclipse is supposed to be used in some other way, starting from some other premise. If that's the case then it probably isn't for me.

Which brings me on to the documentation side of things. There isn't a single doc or tutorial I could find to help me out. The only one I was able to find was some university module course that explained how to configure Eclipse to use with J2EE by installing the WTP. I also followed this to the tee and it didn't work.

Before you cry "noob" I've been officially developing J2EE apps with other IDEs for about 3 years - (NetBeans, JBuilder, JDeveloper) and have messed around with many others, none of which gave me this sort of headache. I know what you're thinking; Eclipse isn't an IDE per se right? Well, that actually is besides the point. You are supposed to make it work as a J2EE IDE, but it is precisely this I have been unable to do.

Like I said, I want to like Eclipse - I really do. But maybe I've started with the wrong premise, maybe I shouldn't be expecting to use it as an aid to developing my J2EE Web Apps; maybe it's used for some other purpose I am presently unaware of, and I've just misunderstood the hype.

P.
Ilja Preuss
author
Sheriff

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
You need to keep in mind that Eclipse is not only a "free IDE", but also a framework for commercial IDEs. The newest version of JBuilder, TogetherJ, IBMs commercial IDE (Websphere-something) etc. are all build on top of Eclipse.

If Eclipse were perfect, how could those companies sell their IDEs?

Eclipse isn't meant to be a fully fledged IDE. Eclipse has all the basic things you need for java development. If you want more, you either need to install a number of free plugins, often with the mentioned problems of inconsistencies and bad support, or you need to spent some money.


The soul is dyed the color of its thoughts. Think only on those things that are in line with your principles and can bear the light of day. The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you do is who you become. Your integrity is your destiny - it is the light that guides your way. - Heraclitus
Bharat Ruparel
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 30, 2003
Posts: 493
Hello Jeff,
I came to Eclipse from IntelliJ IDEA camp and found it more than a bit confusing. You are right that it doesn't provide any help out of the box for server side development. The jury is still out on WTP since it has not been released yet.
In the meantime, you may want to try a commercially available product called MyEclipseIDE (www.myeclipseide.com) that I have been using with great success for the server side development. It works.
Whether that will shorten your learning curve is another question. I believe that if you buy some of the excellent books available on Eclipse and go through them, you will get upto speed. I personally found that I needed more time and help (books) to come up to speed in Eclipse than IntelliJ since it is not as intuitive.
When you do come up to speed however, you will find that it allows you to create a decent development environment.
Hope this helps.
Bharat


SCJP,SCJD,SCWCD,SCBCD,SCDJWS,SCEA
Xendren Vanuzer
Greenhorn

Joined: Jan 13, 2006
Posts: 1
Originally posted by Ilja Preuss:
If Eclipse were perfect, how could those companies sell their IDEs?

Eclipse isn't meant to be a fully fledged IDE. Eclipse has all the basic things you need for java development. If you want more, you either need to install a number of free plugins, often with the mentioned problems of inconsistencies and bad support, or you need to spent some money.


Wow! That's pretty profound. Sounds like Eclipse is more like a concrete slab ready for someone else to build "useful" things on.

Or you could just use Netbeans and quit wasting time and money.
[ January 13, 2006: Message edited by: Xendren Vanuzer ]
 
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subject: Is Eclipse really this hard? And how did it get so popular?