It is possible. Eclipse runs just fine (even on a first-generation single core Atom). But it is different from a "real" workplace and I wouldn't recommend it as main developement computer, just as a complement.
The processing power and memory is fine for just working with source, i.e. the normal text editing, showing Javadocs, call hierarchy, usages etc. But you certainly want to switch of continuous building and validating - which means that you find some bugs at build time only instead of when editing or writing the source.
The screen estate is lower, so you can't show all the views you are used to at the same time. Javadoc, declaration, call hierarchy, markers, outline, Spring outline, JPA details and so on - one at a time and switching. Or calling the quick outline / type hierarchy. No second screen for documentation or surfing parallel (obviously).
The keyboard is smaller than a normal keyboard - acceptable for short periods but not for the long run.
You see, it is a compromise. You give a lot for getting the mobility.
That said I program at a netbook (first generation, single core, 8GB SSD) frequently. It works fine if mobility is the key property.
But today there is a great number of small notebooks ("subnotes") that are a much better fit. Main differences: Faster processors (even if not on par with desktop variants or bigger notebooks), full-size keyboard, higher resolution, more memory. One of the most mobile ones of that class would be the 11" Macbook Air.
Oh, and there are people with a name who use a netbook as main developement system (and thinking about switching from 9" to 10"!). But then Java developement needs more than an Emacs to be fun.
Hauke Ingmar Schmidt wrote:Oh, and there are people with a name who use a netbook as main developement system (and thinking about switching from 9" to 10"!).
Ok, but that guy is the famous #1 guy who would give up almost anything so that he can work with a machine that consists as close to 100% as possible of open source software and hardware...
I have a 9-inch Dell Mini 10, with 1024 x 600 screen. It has 2 GB memory. I'm running Ubuntu (Linux) on it. For me, the screen is far too small to use Eclipse or any other IDE on comfortably. I would not recommend this as your primary computer for software development.
I've got a netbook pretty much like that. It's great in terms of fitting in my backpack and not making it too heavy to carry on mountain walks, but I wouldn't like to try loading and running Eclipse on it. But if that is all the hardware that can fit into your budget, I wouldn't say it would be impossible.
However there have been other suggestions in this thread which I would suggest you follow up.
Hi mic ta, How did you go with your decision? Thanks for posting this, I was after an answer to this too as I've been considering one. I am still struggling to decide if I want to just go with a bulkier 15" laptop with better hardware for double the price, so would love to hear what you own thoughts are after taking the plunge (if you have)
All I'm worried about is portability - something to take to uni with me that will run either Eclipse or Netbeans, something I can use between classes, at the cafe or wherever I happen to be, and then at home have the option to 1) display on my monitor, and 2) copy the code over to my main PC. Add to that I'm a relative novice at Java so I'm not exactly developing the most resource-hungry software.