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What percent of Java developers use Eclipse?

michael byrd
Greenhorn

Joined: Jan 21, 2006
Posts: 23
Do people find Eclipse to be a better environment or are they attracted by
it being free?

From spending a bit of time with Eclipse I find the interface to be
un-streamlined - there are a huge number of options and these get in the way
of operations needed often. As an example, the toolbar buttons include many
operations that can be accessed easily by right clicking, yet does not
include something as elementary as undo/redo buttons (and there appears to
be no way to customize the toolbar to add such buttons).
David O'Meara
Rancher

Joined: Mar 06, 2001
Posts: 13459

Moving to the IDEs, Version Control and other tools forum.

Dave
Reid M. Pinchback
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 25, 2002
Posts: 775
Can't speak for broad statistics, just personal experience. In my case I used JBuilder a lot, Eclipse a reasonable amount. Lately more Eclipse than JBuilder. Observations:

- Borland charges too damn much. Good tool, but get real
- JBuilder hasn't evolved enough over time to justify the new releases
- JBuilder is a better Java editing environment than Eclipse
- Eclipse is a better Java building environment than JBuilder
- Eclipse has a growing collection of interesting plugins
- JBuilder opentool development community isn't as active in comparison
- jobs often advertise for Eclipse/WSAD, rarely for JBuilder

The only beefs I have with Eclipse so far are that its documentation state is still pretty rough, including (generally stale) tutorials on the website, and its key bindings for common tasks are nowhere near as clean as JBuilder. Also, some of the Eclipse plugins are not cheap (Nitrox). If you compare the total cost of free-eclipse+commercial-plugin to JBuilder developer or enterprise, the economic motivation shrinks.


Reid - SCJP2 (April 2002)
Don Morgan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 24, 2003
Posts: 84
The last I remember reading was around 50%, although I can't find the reference.

In my own personal experience, although I do like using Eclipse, I find the person sitting in front of the keyboard is much important than the IDE they are using - some people work magic with vi!
[ January 23, 2006: Message edited by: Don Morgan ]

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Roger Chung-Wee
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 29, 2002
Posts: 1683
Free is very important, there is no way that products like eclipse or Tomcat would be so popular if you had to pay for them.

It will surprise some people that being free matters to developers employed by corporates as the effort involved in getting approval to spend even tiny amounts of money dictates that free software - subject to being fit for purpose - is often used.


SCJP 1.4, SCWCD 1.3, SCBCD 1.3
Ilja Preuss
author
Sheriff

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
Originally posted by Reid M. Pinchback:
- JBuilder is a better Java editing environment than Eclipse


That's interesting - in which ways? I have problems imagining JBuilder having as powerful code navigation and "quick fix" features, to mention just two feature sets, as Eclipse.


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
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 16303
    
  21

Originally posted by Roger Chung-Wee:
Free is very important, there is no way that products like eclipse or Tomcat would be so popular if you had to pay for them.


I can't agree. Where I work, IntelliJ is the mandated IDE and most of my projects are IntelliJ projects. However, for projects I do on my own time AND for projects at work that have complex debugging requirements (multi-VM intercommunications), I use Eclipse.

I rate Eclipse and IntelliJ about equal, with IntelliJ holding an eroding edge on JSP-centric development (not, alas, JSF), and Eclipse being better as a all-round platform that runs many useful plugins like Quantum DB, development for Perl, PHP and Antlr and a CVS interface that doesn't leave me screaming in frustration. IntelliJ's plugin set is more limited and the last time I tried adding plugins I destabilized the system to the point I had to rip them all out.

I have several different ways to obtain free copies of IntelliJ. I just happen to prefer Eclipse.

Tomcat's been embedded in more than one major J2EE system, so I think I may safely say that it has some utility above and beyond sinmply being free.


Customer surveys are for companies who didn't pay proper attention to begin with.
Reid M. Pinchback
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 25, 2002
Posts: 775
Originally posted by Ilja Preuss:
That's interesting - in which ways? I have problems imagining JBuilder having as powerful code navigation and "quick fix" features, to mention just two feature sets, as Eclipse.


Speaking specifically of the Java editor here, most features have direct analogues between the two editors. If you pay attention to the features you use a hundred times a day, you just find that JBuilder has organized the editor to minimize the number of keystrokes for the most repetitive tasks and reduce the amount of right-mouse-click-for-a-menu you are forced to do. Definitely not a situation where you can't get a job done in both, more just a reflection of the fact that the editor philosophy of JBuilder has been maturing for over 10 years - stretching back to the C++Builder versions that existed before it.

Also, JBuilder did a much better job of Tomcat/JSP/webapp debugging than Eclipse, hands down. Things are getting much better with WTP 1.0, but all you have to do is look at all the message threads from people who are frustrated by simply getting started with Eclipse and web development to see that there is still major room for improvement. The eclipse learning curve that takes you a week to pound your head through takes a couple of hours with JBuilder.

Unfortunately, I suspect that within a couple of years any current JBuilder advantages would have been superceded by Eclipse. Pretty much my reason for shifting now bit by bit. Both products have warts, but at least with Eclipse it seems like people are working to remove the warts. Borland started resting on its laurels a couple of years ago and treated JBuilder as a cash-cow to be milked.
Ilja Preuss
author
Sheriff

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
Originally posted by Reid M. Pinchback:
Speaking specifically of the Java editor here, most features have direct analogues between the two editors. If you pay attention to the features you use a hundred times a day, you just find that JBuilder has organized the editor to minimize the number of keystrokes for the most repetitive tasks and reduce the amount of right-mouse-click-for-a-menu you are forced to do.


Mh, I still wonder. Do you have some specific examples. For example, I typically use ctrl-1 several times a minute, as well as F3.

Also, JBuilder did a much better job of Tomcat/JSP/webapp debugging than Eclipse, hands down.


OK, can't comment on that - mostly Swing development here...

Unfortunately, I suspect that within a couple of years any current JBuilder advantages would have been superceded by Eclipse.


Well, the next JBuilder version will be based on Eclipse, so that probably won't be a problem...
Roger Chung-Wee
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 29, 2002
Posts: 1683
I can't agree. Where I work, IntelliJ is the mandated IDE and most of my projects are IntelliJ projects.

Ah, but what matters is not what happens in your shop, it's what millions of developers are doing. If there is a choice between roughly equivalent products, then the free one wins out over the ones which are not. And even if the free product isn't that good, it can still win. For instance, I used to use Perforce (and was happy to use it) but have been forced to move to CVS because it's ... free.
Reid M. Pinchback
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 25, 2002
Posts: 775
Originally posted by Ilja Preuss:
Mh, I still wonder. Do you have some specific examples. For example, I typically use ctrl-1 several times a minute, as well as F3.


F3 vs Ctrl-Enter is one of the closer matches. Ctrl-1 is a nice thing in Eclipse that JBuilder doesn't have.

Probably the thing I most miss from JBuilder are the features you get in Developer and Enterprise, like named configurations. You can set up all the characteristics for a run or debug session with a name, make whichever one you want the default, and do the builds, runs, debugs with a single keystroke, step yourself through all the debugging options with single keystrokes. I hate having to wander around with a mouse to click on icons for things I do all day long. I also bounce between a lot of different projects and then have to go back to old projects a couple of months later, so the named configurations beats all the sticky notes I used to have glued to the edge of my monitor. :-)

Also fewer keystrokes to some of the refactorings, like smart try-catch blocks. Adding libraries to a project is also more direct in JBuilder than in Eclipse, and it also does a better job of letting you share library definitions across projects. Javadoc also tends to be more likely to actually appear, and JBuilder does a better job of showing a useful class summary than Eclipse does when you don't have source, so Ctrl-Enter (vs F3) in those cases is more informative - and you can *still* navigate through classes that don't have source to other classes that might have source.

I could list other minor little irritations, but the specifics really don't matter to anybody but the person trying to do their work (me, in this case). Not trying to hype JBuilder here; pointless, tedious, useless waste of time, energy and network bandwidth. Mostly just eagerly wanting Eclipse to have all the things that I've had in JBuilder for 3/4/5+ years, so that I don't have any more reasons to do anything more with JBuilder. No doubt there are IntelliJ users out there that could say comparable things. The Eclipse strategy of creating a platform for building tools was the smarter strategy; the downside is just that any particular tool (like the Java perspective) hasn't been the sole focus of the work. That means it just takes a little more time for the (heavily volunteer) resources to catch up to the commercial tools that had the same rough edges, but had them 4 or 5 years ago.
[ January 23, 2006: Message edited by: Reid M. Pinchback ]
Roger Chung-Wee
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 29, 2002
Posts: 1683
I started out using JBuilder, but my company made me give it up for (free) NetBeans and eclipse. One thing I like about eclipse is the plug-ins, eg CVS. Frankly, I'd be lost if I couldn't use eclipse as a CVS client. Am I right is saying that other IDEs do support CVS, but this may be limited, eg depending on whether you have the enterprise version.
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 16303
    
  21

Originally posted by Roger Chung-Wee:

Ah, but what matters is not what happens in your shop, it's what millions of developers are doing. If there is a choice between roughly equivalent products, then the free one wins out over the ones which are not. And even if the free product isn't that good, it can still win. For instance, I used to use Perforce (and was happy to use it) but have been forced to move to CVS because it's ... free.


Well, that's sort of a point-of-view thing. What matters to me is that I'm paid to use IntelliJ, whether I prefer it or not. And, like I said, I can get IntelliJ for free, but I still prefer Eclipse.

In the open-source world, free has an edge, but a lot of businesses are of the mindset that you get what you pay for. That includes where I work. They had a choice between paying for IntelliJ or installing Eclipse for free and they paid for a few dozen IntelliJ licenses and told me not to use Eclipse. So I don't -- except when IntelliJ just can't handle the job.

Were price the only consideration, products like RUP and SAP and Oracle would be defunct by now.
Ilja Preuss
author
Sheriff

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
Originally posted by Reid M. Pinchback:
Ctrl-1 is a nice thing in Eclipse that JBuilder doesn't have.


It has become essential to my way of working. It has become a habbit of mine (and my coworkers) to implement code changes in ways that maximize the use of quick fixes - it's just so much more fun to have the IDE have the typing do for you.

But I can see that the reasons you mentioned could lead one to prefer JBuilder - just not me...
Michael Duffy
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 15, 2005
Posts: 163
Originally posted by Tim Holloway:


Well, that's sort of a point-of-view thing. What matters to me is that I'm paid to use IntelliJ, whether I prefer it or not. And, like I said, I can get IntelliJ for free, but I still prefer Eclipse.

In the open-source world, free has an edge, but a lot of businesses are of the mindset that you get what you pay for. That includes where I work. They had a choice between paying for IntelliJ or installing Eclipse for free and they paid for a few dozen IntelliJ licenses and told me not to use Eclipse. So I don't -- except when IntelliJ just can't handle the job.

Were price the only consideration, products like RUP and SAP and Oracle would be defunct by now.



I used Eclipse for three years, because my employer wasn't interested in purchasing tools. I was grateful to have something so good for free.

My current employer makes IntelliJ available to me. I was skeptical when I got it, because I liked Eclipse so much and was so used to it.

But now I'm absolutely sold. I'd make a license for IntelliJ a condition for employment now. I think it's demonstrably better than any IDE I've used.

I think Eclipse plugins have become something of a free-for-all, with varying quality. It's a huge memory hog, just like its predecessor Visual Age for Java. Just my opinion, of course.


%
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 16303
    
  21

By my definition, there's never been a Java IDE that's not a memory hog, even when I used Emacs!

IntelliJ is a fine product to develop webapps in. Its support for Swing, like many IDEs, is tied to a quirky vendor-specific framework. Where I run into trouble is when I launch several different VMs, since I have to manually setup remote debugging connections to a much greater degree than I do in Eclipse. I get in especial trouble since I never figured out how to run an embedded Tomcat in IntelliJ that employs custom Context such as security Realm definitions. It's much easier under the Sysdeo Eclipse plugin for me.

From a pure IDE perspective, things I appreciate about Eclipse are the ability to quickly spot bad source code via the cascading error decorations in the Navigator, The "find next error" and "return to last edit point" toolbar buttons, and the ability to click a button and have the navigator view jump to the location of the file being edited.

However, a lot of the people I work with are IntelliJ fans. It's a matter of taste, in how you work, and what you're doing. I don't dislike IntelliJ, just prefer Eclipse. Mostly my projects are IDE-neutral; Ant builds do the production builds on a non-GUI Unix box.

As I mentioned, Eclipse v3 eroded a lot of the edge that IntelliJ held in working with Ant files and JSPs. Neither product has decent JSF support yet.
 
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subject: What percent of Java developers use Eclipse?