Eclipse Platform 3.3 Experience

29 Apr 2007 | Programming | Comments »

Eclipse Platform 3.3 Experience

Eclipse 3.3 is near release. As a Java/Eclipse developer, I’ve used Eclipse for almost two years. In this article, I’d like to tell my experience using Eclipse platform. Of course, I’ll only describe the differences between 3.2 and 3.3.

The platform performance and robustness improves much.

It’s an obvious comparison. I have nearly 50 projects in my workspace, if I clean all the projects and rebuild them, it would take me half an hour when I using 3.2, but now, It takes me less than ten minutes with 3.3RC3. It’s a great improvement, owing to the infrastructure code and compiler optimization.

The program becomes more robust. Most of us may encounter a terrible situation: When we’re coding, or do some other operations, an unexpected exception is thrown without any omen, and then eclipse closes. After we re-open it, all the projects in the workspace have to be re-built. It’s really an annoying thing. Especially “out of memory” exception, even I add -Xms256m -Xmx512m to the VM argument, it helps little. Since 3.3 M6, the crash rare occurs. It’s good.

I like the compatibility. It’s very important.

But it seems that Eclipse 3.2 does it not good at this point. Take it for example. In 3.2 M5, it introduces TrayDialog, which adds help button for dialogs. But in fact, it brings me a nightmare. Why? Before 3.2 M5, BaseDialog directly subclasses Dialog, and after then, BaseDialog subclasses TrayDialog, and TrayDialog subclasses Dialog. So all the dialogs who are inheriting BaseDialog have troubles. Clients complain that the dialogs have one more question mark (“?”), and after clicking it, no sensitive-context help is shown. More terrible, layout of some dialogs changes. So we have to spend much time adding help content for each dialog or hiding question mark, or layoutting the dialogs again.

In 3.3, I don’t find similar problem. Maybe Eclipse platform team pays so much attention to avoid it as possible as they can, maybe the similar issue still exists, but I don’t find it. Any way, It brings me good feeling.

But Eclipse 3.3 still has some problems.

Some bugs exist for a long time, but they’re not fixed. Such as bug 73478. Not only have I encountered this issue, but also many others have. Though it’s not major, it’s so easy for us to encounter it. Clients find that it works in windows, but doesn’t in some other OSs, such as Linux. I know that SWT team doesn’t fix it because of technical reasons, but users don’t’ care it, if it doesn’t work, they think it’s the fault of application.

In addition, I’d like to say something about the newsgroup.

I learned much from the newsgroup, thanks to it. But I don’t know whether the eclipse develop teams are so busy, or the team members are lack. Once I bring up one question, it often takes me a few days to get the answer. If there’re enough developers resolving the questions in newsgroup, it’ll be better.

Finally, I’d like to say: Though there’re deficiencies in Eclipse 3.3, it’s the best java develop tool for me. And I hope it becomes perfect in future. :)

(The End)

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