One of the best Java development tools (and I suspect a major reason for Java’s success) has been the phenomenon known as Eclipse. When I started writing Java, the best tools were proprietary ones such as VisualCafe and JBuilder. These have now all gone due to the success of Eclipse and it is the main development platform not just for Java but many other languages. It provides not only a Java development tool but also a flexible development environment and a flexible plugin architecture (we released our our PDF viewer plugin in for it).
The most amazing thing about Eclipse though is probably how they manage to provide so much for free with regular updates. We have a free Open Source version of our PDF viewer software and I wrote another blog article (Is JPedal free?) on the implications and costs of trying to have an Open Source version.
Well, they are now trying to encourage donations to raise money to help fund development. So why bother. Well, here are 5 reasons:-
1. If you are using it for professional work, 35 US dollars is a pitifully small amount to pay towards something you depend upon. Many developers probably spend more than that in a week at Starbucks. Supporting Eclipse will make you feel much better (and have less impact on your waistline).
2. The Eclipse foundation had demonstrated that they really know how to drive Eclipse forward and you can be sure it will be used to improve the product (they are not a profit-making operation).
3. You get early access to the Indigo release (rather useful if you develop for of rely on Eclipse).
4. You can put the rather tasteful friend of Eclipse logo on your blog or website.
5. Ian Skerrett does a tireless job of driving Eclipse forward and deserves our support and encouragement.
That is 7 bucks a reason! I’ve signed up and I hope you will at http://ianskerrett.wordpress.com/2011/05/02/500-friends-of-indigo/