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eclipse/webtools BUGS BUGS AND MORE BUGS

Vinnie Jenks
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Joined: Apr 26, 2004
Posts: 207
I can't imagine that I'm the only person struggling to just be productive using Eclipse. I really don't like many things about Netbeans either but I've sat here ripping my hair out while trying to use eclipse so many times that I've had no choice but to go w/ what is stable and dependable.

Last time I used Eclipse was probably 2-3 months ago. Just trying to build a simple web project w/ some jar libraries literally forced me to spend at least 50% of my time struggling w/ the development environment itself.

I *want* to like eclipse...I really do. The debugger is great, the editor is great, the features are top-shelf. I just don't understand its popularity given the extreme instability of the product!?

Some examples:

- I can work steadily on a project for days...everything can be going fine. Then, all of a sudden, I can launch eclipse one day and my web project suddenly doesn't recognize any of the standard servlet import declarations and won't compile! I'll get an error that says "The import javax.servlet.Filter cannot be resolved". What happened here!!?? At this point I've not found a way to go forward...the project is "dead."

- I decided one day to do a demo for a couple of co-workers in a conference room where I could not be connected to the internet. Suddenly all the DTD declarations failed and I realized I could not work disconnected. After plugging back in, the project didn't "recover" and would not compile.

- Sometimes, refreshing a project or publishing to a tomcat server can take SEVERAL minutes. If I can walk away to grab a snack and walk back and the damn thing *still* isn't done w/ that it is doing...that's just too slow. However, I don't recall having this problem in eclipse 3.0.x...I'm just now noticing this in 3.1.1

Are people really relying on this IDE to build enterprise-class applications every single day? I'm not trying to bash anyone but I'm trying to understand if these issues are due to something I'm doing wrong or if the product itself is just extremely buggy? I'm evaluating what platform developers in my dept. should use when we transition over to using Java as our primary appdev platform. At this point...Netbeans is looking like a winner simply because, at a base level, it actually works. Even the Netbeans 5.0 beta is worlds more stable than the latest stable version of Eclipse (from my personal testing.)

I've tried Eclipse 3.0.1 and 3.1.1. I've used webtools 0.7.1 and 1.0RC1. This latest attempt was w/ 3.1.1 (gtk) and webtools 1.0RC1. I've tried this on Windows XP, Windows 2000, Gentoo Linux and Fedora Core. I haven't found a stable combination yet.

I am also not interested in a commercial plugin for eclipse...the idea is that we go w/ an open source development tool for Java. However, I'm not sure there is going to be a choice here...we may just have to spend big money to get something that we can rely on?

All opinions welcome! I would love for someone to point out where I might be making my own problems w/ Eclipse, if that is the case.


[ December 11, 2005: Message edited by: Vinnie Jenks ]
Ilja Preuss

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
I haven't yet tried the webtools plugin. We are using the Sysdeo Tomcat plugin, which allows to start webapps directly from the eclipse projects - no need for publishing at all. Seems to work fine.

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
Paul Lester
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Joined: Dec 27, 2002
Posts: 40
Vinne: Eclipse does seem to have a mind of its own, which seems to run against what I want it to do a lot of the time! Our team, which is 6 developers, is spilt down the middle, 3 of us prefer Eclipse, while the other 3, JBuilder. We all started with Eclipse, but some of us had a lot more trouble than others. I didn't have much trouble because I never upgraded past 3.0. I just upgraded about a month ago to 3.1.1, and everything seems to be going well ... for now.

I've been using Eclipse for about 18 months, or so. We even turned it into a verb ... when something goes wrong, we say we've been 'eclipsed'. Anyway, one commercial plug-in that is pretty good is MyEclipse. It does well on web deployment, etc. It makes it fairly easy to setup a J2EE project and deploy it, but it is not without its problems. Unless you turn off a particular feature, it can take a loooooooooooong time to deploy a web application because it compiles ALL of your JSPs just to validate that they will compile! This can make it take about 20 minutes to deploy. If you turn the DTD, XML, JSP, etc. validations off, it takes just a few seconds.

Every once in a while, Eclipse will freeze and I'll have to kill it, but it's not to often ... this usually happens if I haven't rebooted my computer in about a week.

I would suggest that you try the MyEclipse plugin, if you can. It cost about $32/year to use ... yes, it's a subscription, but you can get a 30 day free trial:

Anyway, it may be worth a shot. It has a lot of fluff in it too, like wysiwyg designers, struts context designer, etc. It may ease your pain a bit.


[ December 13, 2005: Message edited by: Paul Lester ]

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Vinnie Jenks
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 26, 2004
Posts: 207
Paul - thanks for the insight.

I've tried just about every Java IDE I've been able to get my hands on and out of the bunch, Eclipse still just feels the best to me. I've been experimenting since I last posted, with the latest releases of the webtools plugins and they actually seem more stable than 0.7.1 was...on both Win and Linux.

I tried JBuilder 2006 - phew...that's one heavy lady. Talk about bringing a grenade-launcher to a gunfight...

Intellij IDEA nearly drove me to's perhaps the least intuitive IDE I've ever put my hands on. I know some people love it...but coming from a Visual Studio feels very awkward to me.

Anyhow, I've managed to do quite well w/ the WTP 1.0RC4+ versions of the webtools far so good. I've found that cancelling or just outright turning off validation of the web project after saving prevents it from freezing on me for 2-3 minutes at a time.

I've tried MyEclipse and it's OK...but I'd really rather keep my tools free...just a personal preference.

I'm still somewhat torn between Netbeans and Eclipse/WTP. If I were a Swing developer I'd probably be a Netbeans 5.0+ guy, hands down.

Thanks again!
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