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Why Eclipse IDE?

 

 

If you’re reading this, you’re most likely a Java programmer, and you know how finicky Java can be at times. Missed import statements, forgotten variable declarations, omitted semicolons, garbled syntax, typos—all these problems will cause the Java command-line compiler, javac, to cough and display pages of annoying error messages. The error messages tell you that javac knows what the error is but doesn’t fix the problem. javac can’t fix the problem as it isn’t an editor. That makes long streams of errors scrolling off the page an all-too-common experience for Java developers, and leaves them with the feeling that Java is too prickly about what can go wrong. To change all that, you can use an integrated development environment (IDE), which will not only catch errors before you try to compile, but also suggest solutions. Java is badly in need of a good IDE, and a number of candidates are available, but the premiere Java IDE these days is Eclipse.

 

Open Source IDE:

If you closely follow open source or Java programming, you should have heard the buzz about Eclipse. Eclipse is an extensible software development environment comprising an IDE (Integrated development environment – It is an all-in-one tool for writing, editing, compiling, and running programs) and a plug-in system to extend it. 
 
It is written primarily in Java and can be used to develop applications in Java. And by means of various plug-ins, it can be used to develop applications in other languages as well, including C, C++, COBOL, Python, Perl, PHP, and others. Eclipse employs plug-ins in order to provide all of its functionality on top of (and including) the runtime system. The runtime system of Eclipse is based on Equinox – an OSGi standard compliant implementation.

 

Plugin Extension in Eclipse IDE:

The plug-in mechanism is a lightweight software componentry framework. In addition to allowing Eclipse to be extended using other programming languages such as C and Python, the plug-in framework allows Eclipse to work with typesetting languages like LaTeX, networking applications such as telnet, and database management systems. The plug-in architecture supports writing any desired extension to the environment, such as for configuration management. Java and CVS support is provided in the Eclipse SDK, with Subversion support provided by third-party plug-ins.

The key to the seamless integration of tools with Eclipse is the plug-in. Every plug-in developed integrates with Eclipse in exactly the same way as other plug-ins. Eclipse provides plug-ins for a wide variety of features, some of which are through third parties using both free and commercial models. Examples of plug-ins include UML plug-in for Sequence and other UML diagrams, plug-in for Database explorer, and many others.

 

Other Eclipse IDE Features:

Eclipse also includes a number of unique features such as code refactoring, automatic code updates/installs (via the Update Manager), a task list, support for unit testing with JUnit, and integration with the Jakarta Ant build tool. Despite the large number of standard features, Eclipse is different from traditional IDEs in a number of fundamental ways. Perhaps the most interesting feature of Eclipse is that it is completely platform- and language-neutral.

Platform-wise, the Eclipse foundation provides prebuilt binaries for Windows, Linux, Solaris, HP-UX, AIX, QNX, and Mac OS X. Much of the interest in Eclipse centers around the plug-in architecure and rich APIs provided by the Plug-in Development Environment for extending Eclipse. Adding support for a new type of editor, view, or programming language is remarkably easy, given the well-designed APIs and rich building blocks that Eclipse provides.

With hundreds of plug-in development projects in progress, industry giants like IBM, HP, and Rational (just acquired by IBM) providing resources, and design heavy-weights like Erich Gamma helping to guide the process, the future indeed looks bright for Eclipse. In a recent survey conducted by QA Systems, Eclipse has a 45 percent share in the Java IDE market. That’s nearly three times the market share of the highest-ranking competitor — Borland JBuilder. The editors of the Java Developer’s Journal gave two Editors’ Choice awards to Eclipse. As one editor wrote, “After being anti-IDE for so long I’ve finally caved in. It (Eclipse) has nice CVS utils, project frameworks, code refactoring and ‘sensible’ code generation (especially for beans). Add industry backing and a very fired up user base and you have one winning product.”

 

When you download Eclipse, you pay nothing, nada. And what you get is a robust, powerful, extensible Java development environment. Eclipse is very user-friendly and self-explanatory with online/offline help in the IDE itself. There are tons of online tutorials available in the internet space to get started with Eclipse and also for updates on plugins or troubleshooting. Not only is Eclipse a good choice for any starter over simple text editors, but also a good choice for an IDE over other IDE’s, being open source and with wide support from third party tools and softwares.

 

Links:

http://www.eclipse.org/

 

Note: Refer to other posts in Eclipse IDE category for further knowledge.

 

 

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