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Eclipse Rich Client Platform (2nd Edition)

Book Review Team
Bartender

Joined: Feb 15, 2002
Posts: 944
Author/s    : Jeff McAffer, Jean-Michel Lemieux, Chris Aniszczyk
Publisher   : Addison-Wesley Professional
Category   : Advanced Java
Review by : Christophe Verre
Rating        : 10 horseshoes

Eclipse Rich Client Platform will teach you how to create professional and redistributable RCP applications. Part I and II look like a tutorial, but the rest of the book goes far beyond. First, you will create a chat application, adding views, editors, actions, help, integrating a third party library... The style is clear, and the progression is logical. API details are left for Part III, where RCP indispensable components are discussed, and that is where the simple tutorial ends.

Part IV introduces more advanced features like p2, dynamic plug-ins, product configurations for various platforms, testing... I found that this part required more thinking than the rest of the book, but it is invaluable if you aim at making a professional application. The last part is a reference about Eclipse and OSGi.

If you plan to make an Eclipse RCP application, if you have some interest in it or in Eclipse plug-ins, if you just like the Eclipse IDE, this book is for you. You'll learn a lot about the Eclipse architecture, and you will learn it the easy way. I also own another book of the Eclipse Series, Eclipse Plug-ins, 3rd Edition, which I enjoyed a lot. I was not disappointed by Eclipse Rich Client Platform, 2nd Edition. I highly recommend it.

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of JavaRanch.

More info at Amazon.com
Book Review Team
Bartender

Joined: Feb 15, 2002
Posts: 944
Review by : James Ervin
Rating        : 10 horseshoes

A common gripe about open source, is how do I get started, start eating the 'dog food' if you will? Popular open source communities solve this by writing 'the standard book' that most people learn from. This is good. Next it goes out of date due to the rapid evolution of the technology. That would be bad. So now to get started, you read a book that is now mostly wrong. Have fun.

The Eclipse Rich Client Platform (RCP) book was no different. The first edition was the standard for using Eclipse RCP and, arguably, for any serious plugin developer. It was the best place to learn how to eat the 'dog food'. It is now out of date. The second edi-tion addresses that problem.

The book consists of two parts. The first is a rather thorough tutorial building the Hyperbola application. Ever been frustrated by 'HelloWorld' tutorials? Here's the antidote. Hyperbola, while not a fully polished application, is as deep a tutorial dive I have ever seen. It was a useful refresher and introduction to newer features.

The second portion will keep this book on your short list of Eclipse reference books. It's a succinct reference on topics of interest. Ever been confused by Eclipse editors, views, actions and how they work together? The answers are there. Personal favorites included information on p2, the chapter on dynamic plugins, the part on the ever mysterious PDE build and finally, the section on OSGi.

In conclusion, I recommend this book to developers working with Eclipse, be it using the RCP or writing plugins for the full IDE. This book fills in a lot of gaps that are not well covered elsewhere. After reading, I think you'll discover that the doggie food can taste pretty good.

WOOF WOOF
Chris Nash
Greenhorn

Joined: May 20, 2009
Posts: 28
Book Review Team wrote:I recommend this book to developers working with Eclipse, be it using the RCP or writing plugins for the full IDE. This book fills in a lot of gaps that are not well covered elsewhere. After reading, I think you'll discover that the doggie food can taste pretty good.


This book may have been good when it came out, but now it is hopelessly outdated and the information doesn't map well to the latest version of the Eclipse IDE. The book begins well, but as soon as you attempt to do things in the IDE, the trouble begins. The book begins to fall apart in Chapter 3 during the Target Platform Setup. It's completely unworkable. Since that's optional at that point, it can be skipped. But another roadblock occurs in Chapter 5 in "Adding the Contacts View to a Perspective". It doesn't work and even the code that can be downloaded from the accompanying website doesn't work (it runs, but it doesn't do what the book shows it's supposed to).

To be fair, up until the roadblock in Chapter 5 (and the unworkable Target Platform Setup in Chapter 3), the book is fairly good. But given that there's 29 chapters, 83% of the book is useless. I can't recommend this book to anyone attempting to learn the Eclipse RCP. If a Version 3 comes out, it may be worth picking up, but that remains to be seen. Stay away from this book unless you have an ERCP expert on hand to get you past the unreliable sections of the book.


- Frecklefoot
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