The Ironism

The Ironism

The lair of Lars J. Nilsson. Contains random musings on beer, writing and this thing we call life.

March 2007


Regarding the “IDE Survivors”


There’s an article on DevX comparing the three major Java IDE’s, picked up by Mats Henricson of Crisp fame, here (SV).

I have a small grief with the article. Nothing major mind you, just a small grief.To start off though, a small clarification. The article compares the editors in some separate areas – which is comendable – namely Swing, JSP/Struts, JavaServer Faces (JSF), and J2EE/EJB3. Of these the only one I’m at all interested in is EJB3, and when I do code in EJB3 I expect I’ll belong to the “hard coder” line, and do most of it be hand. Hard coder? *shrug* I guess so. (For example: Hibernate/JPA support? What’s the point? It’s not exacly rocket science is it?) So given its constraints, I haven’t got much to say as I don’t expect to have to use those features for quite a while, and don’t mch disagree with it’s conclusions anyway.

But its constraints, I do have something to say about. It seems that every article I glance at comparing editors are written by an author thinking along these lines: “Oh, and Eclipse have all those plugins, how tedious. I’ll mention them and the community and then go on and compare Eclipse without them anyway, that’ll be much easier, and fairer too.” This seems a bit strange to me. You see, I’ll believe that the plugins and the community around them is one of the major contributing factors to why people like Eclipse. Many coders will of course be unable to articulate why they use a particular IDE at all, it is mostly habits, but when you sit down with them I’ll bet you that the plugins are there in the “good bits”-list in 95% of the cases. And if it is so, wouldn’t it be fair to include them?

Take this qoute from the article for example:

Out of the three IDEs, Eclipse is the only one that exists in multiple versions/distributions, starting from the base distribution to pre-packaged ones with extra open-source plugins (such as EasyEclipse) and open-source/commercial hybrids such as Genuitec’s MyEclipse. In order to provide a fairly realistic review of what Eclipse is capable of, I focused on the base distribution (including default Eclipse sub-projects such as the Visual Editor and Web Tools Project). Wherever I felt it was lacking, I also considered what MyEclipse offers as a commercial alternative. Frankly, at a subscription price of $49/year, I’d be hard pressed to find any commercial IDE with the functionality that MyEclipse provides.

“Fairly realistic review”? I don’t understand. So it is ok to use some plugins but not all? Also, if you’re realising that Eclipse is quite a different kind of beast, thanks to the community and the plugins, why do you insist on comparing apples with oranges anyway? Or, why not ignore features from the other two editors instead? Wouldn’t that be even fairer? I mean, the article author does mention that he found 24 (!) different Struts plugins quite easily, but that, somehow, doesn’t count?

Seriously. ’tis silly. If you are evaluating Eclipse, include the plugins. Otherwise, people like me might not take you seriously enough to listen.

That said, I thought it was quite a good article anyway. I’ll stay with Eclipse for a while though. The perspectives/views fits me, I love the debugger, and I really like the platform (inluding the plugins). For example, right know I’m writing a custom launch configuration for my company which will make it amazingly simple to develop multiplayer games on our platform. I just find the ease of which I can extend the IDE functionality really cool.

And, if you didn’t know, OSGI, upon which the entire Eclipse platform is built, rocks.

The proprietor of this blog. Lunchtime poet, former opera singer, computer programmer. But not always in that order. Ask me again tomorrow.

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