Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Eclipse is dead! Long live Eclipse!

I love Eclipse! I hate Eclipse! I some ways it's a left-handed tool, but others it's completely right.

Love and Hate Image

What I love about Eclipse.

It builds and tells me my errors as I write. Used to be, you'd stare at your code, and then pray it would compile when you'd type make. And if it compiled, hey, you were almost ready for testing!

Now, as soon as I hit save, it's ready for testing.

It writes the stupid stuff for me. Let's face it, the Java language is a bit wonky. One retarded aspect of Java are accessor methods. We need them, but they are usually very simple methods. This means it's very easy to make a typo if you're not careful. With Eclipse, there are all kinds of methods that autogenerate the stupid stuff, and let's me focus on my logic.

It has a debugger. I can't believe this is still an issue, but after years of working with debuggers in C+, I couldn't find a satisfactory non-IDE Java debugger. Holy crappy command lines, Batman!

What I hate about Eclipse

Grep is better at finding things. I've given up on the Eclipse search functions. I keep a terminal open and use grep. It's far more faster. (Of course, I still avoid using find, more out of sheer anger over it's interface than anything else.)

I can pick APIs too quickly without reading about them. Eventually, I will code on the monitor I have at home, which is a lovely 30" cinema display. With this size of display, I can select a method, and have it's java doc display automatically in a separate window. Without this size of monitor, however, it is hard to manage the screen real estate.

So you end up doing the following: type, use autocomplete, and pray. Yeah, you could say stop using autocomplete, bitch. But it saves way too much typing. Go ahead, try to do it, you can't stop. Autocompletion is seriously the crack cocaine of programming.

It's too F-in' big to be my one-and-only. I still use vim. Why? Because when I'm poking around on one of our systems that's misbehavin', I often have to edit something minor. Or hell, just edit an XML file. Opening that file in Eclipse requires havin' it local, and havin' the right plugin, and havin' enough RAM free that most citizens will only acquire in their latest and greatest machines.

Opening that file in VIM means I don't jack the server performance, and I can do it remotely. Sorry, but I can't live my entire (electronic) life inside an IDE. Sometimes you have to wander into the wild wooly wilderness of a terminal session.

Configuration still sucks So we have development going on in multiple branches. I want different workspaces for each branch - that's all my hardware can handle at once. This means I have to reconfigure Eclipse with my settings for each damn workspace. What... the hell? Why can't I tell it my favorite font once, and then for each new workspace, it just uses the one I love?

The image title is Love and Hate.

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