Alex Marshall Alex Marshall is a marketeer, web developer and designer. He also likes retro technology, classic cars and in his spare time enjoys travelling.

What we love and hate about Java IDEs – Eclipse

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Last time I mentioned that I’d be writing a series of articles about integrated development environments (IDE) and what we love and hate about them. In the second article of the series we take a look at the Eclipse IDE.

What is Eclipse?

eclipse_bckgr_logo_fc_lgEclipse IDE is a multi-language Integrated development environment (IDE) which had its initial codebase created by IBM from the IBM VisualAge, and has an extensible plug-in system (based on the Equinox OSGi framework) for customization some of which are through third parties using both free and commercial models..

This plug-in system is lightweight and allows the Eclipse Platform to be extended using other programming languages.

Eclipse is predominately written in Java, can be used to develop applications in Java and through plug-ins, allows access of other languages such as Ada, C, C++, COBOL, Fortran, Haskell, JavaScript, Perl, PHP, Python, R, Ruby, Scala, Clojure, Groovy, Scheme, Erlang and includes development environments,Eclipse CDT for C/C++ and Eclipse PDT for PHP.

Additional features can be installed from the Eclipse website and via the Update Manager, these features include; Java EE and Web Tools, Ruby Development Tools, Test and Performance Tools, Reporting Tools and Data Tools.

What we Love about Eclipse

  • Really good Mercurial support, the Synchronize view works well for keeping track of incoming and outgoing changesets. 
  • Has the best range of user submitted plugins, and a really good marketplace.
  • It has a really good community, and good all round support.
  • Really easy to pick up how the IDE works.
  • Very useful compare with function

What we Hate about Eclipse

  • Frustrating workspace corruptions that would break the entire workspace and not be recoverable.
  • Perspectives make it overly complex for much of what we do.
  • Dependencies on plugins for everything.
  • Mac version does not seem as robust as other platforms.

This post is part of our “NetBeans article Index” series. In these articles, we aim to explore NetBeans in different ways, from useful hint and tips, to our how-to’s, experiences and usage of the NetBeans IDE.

In the meantime why not tell us What IDE’s you use? and what you love and hate about it.



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Alex Marshall Alex Marshall is a marketeer, web developer and designer. He also likes retro technology, classic cars and in his spare time enjoys travelling.

6 Replies to “What we love and hate about Java IDEs –…”

  1. What do you mean by workspace corruption. I’m using Eclipse for years now, and I’ve never met the case where my workspace cannot be loaded and was lost.
    Don’t you mix the workspace and the installation concepts ?

    1. Jeff,

      When Juno was released I started experiencing frequent workspace corruptions that prevented Eclipse from even loading up.
      There’s numerous suggestions online for how to fix this, none of which helped. e.g.

      I think it was possibly related to the mercurial plugin, which was a requirement at the time.
      It’s a shame, because I think the synchronize view in Eclipse is far superior to what other IDEs have, but it’s no fun and a huge waste of time losing settings, projects and run configurations every few days.

      Unfortunately, my experience was as Jamshid has said, ‘Eclipse is free, if your time as no value’.
      I’ve had no trouble with any other IDEs. Sure, they crash sometimes, but they’ll always start right back up and in seconds you’re back to what you are working on.


      1. Juno is know to have some memory leak issues.
        I’m using Indigo at work but Juno SR2 at home for my OSS projects and don’t have any problems.

  2. Hey! You cannot hate Intellij, I love it!!! Intellij makes me very productive! I feel like in a jail when I use eclipse, it is buggy! just wanna rephrase – “Eclipse is free, if your time has no value” 🙂

  3. I am using Eclipse IDE from past 9 years and I am with you when you on every point you made about Eclipse.

    Few other drawbacks include:
    1. Update of plugins through Update Software crashes the eclipse metadata. I mean whenever I try to update using Check for Updates, Eclipse throws some kind of weird errors and whole screen in Eclipse goes for a toss. There is no way this can be resoled but to reinstall Eclipse and install all the required plugins.
    2. Workspace cannot be saved in terms of Eclipse itself. I mean if I have downloaded a JEE version of Eclipse, and installed SVN, Maven, JBoss Tools etc., and for some reason if Eclipse crashed (I tried an update) I have no way to figure out my old configurations of installations unless I reinstall all of them. (I am not sure if this is available in any other IDE’s)

  4. I used to be an Eclipse user (wrote plugins too) and moved ot IntelliJ around IntelliJ 5.0. You do get what you pay for. Eclipse is a good free tool…but workspace corruptions are awful. I run a team, and I’ve had guys who work for me run cron jobs to back up their workspace and timestamp, or commit their workspace to VCS.

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