Saturday, 12 February 2011

Eclipse, you are bloated

I'm using Netbeans for my day-today java projects, and I really have difficulties when I have to use Eclipse, but I often think that part of it is due to me being new to Eclipse rather than Eclipse itself. However, I also often find that there are real problems with Eclipse, and that my problems are not just coming from my own perception.

Some days ago, I had to install Google Web Toolkit, which is basically an Eclipse Plug-in allowing to generate some complex Javascript code using Java source code . The Java source compilation does not compile Java binary code, but Javascript code, and you can also use a very well done UI designer to create your UI by drag-and-drop rather than having to use complex Javascript libraries.

But this post is not about GWT, on which I have nothing bad to say, but about Eclipse itself, because GWT is an Eclipse plug-in.

First installing Eclipse itself (I used the last Helios version) take ages, in fact it takes so much time (and often it is freezed during the process) that you often think that there may be a problem. And I'm just talking about the first Eclipse internal configuration after you had unzipped the file containing the Eclipse file structure (what, no proper installer?).

Second installing plug ins is really awkward. You have to know the exact URL of the files to be able to download them (from Eclipse), and you HAVE to do it in Eclipse itself. And the UI to choose them is really poorly designed (it seems that you can't put a load of different URLs and download them all at once, you have to download the:m one by one). As for Microsoft software, it also seems that you have to restart Eclipse a lot of times in the process.

Another problem is that if you have to use Eclipse with it's plug-in on a PC not connected to internet, it's really difficult to do so. Basically you have to download it on the spot (something which is not always possible). Which is really awkward considering that there is no proper installer for the core Eclipse itself.

I also have to mention the fact that Eclipse is generally slow (that is, if you succeeded in the previous steps).

I really don't know how Eclipse can be so successful, where it has so much major shortcomings. I have to say that none of these problems exist in Netbeans: finding and downloading plugin-ins is really simple, you can do this by internet or using local files, installing Netbeans is REALLY shorter, and it's generally much more responsive. You can even copy an entire Netbeans directory with it's plugins, and it's working with really minor changes in the configuration (in fact, only one, the path of the JDK).


arni said...

Hi, I found your blog by searching for arinc 661 displayservers ;)
Regarding Eclipse - I agree. Although I have to say that all Java (based) development tools suck. I think I've tried them all. JDeveloper sucks, Eclipse sucks, Netbeans sucks, IntelliJ sucks, JBuilder sucks(ed?). Java has a few good features, but clientside usability is not one of them.
Oh yeah, I bought PyCharm, another Java based IDE - this time for Python. What can I say - featurewise, it's great, but from a usability standpoint - it sucks.

mithrandir said...

He he, I only used Netbeans and Eclipse so far... However, Visual Studio 6.0 was not very good in a usability point of view IMO. For example, I remember that the C/C++ options panels were a mess, or the Visual Studio installer was a nightmare.

I remember having to install Visual Studio at work with the regular distrib, which was on 4 CDs, if I remember well. The PC had a fresh install of the right version of Windows (the one defined in the pre-requisite), and I only had to install the compiler. However, it was not possible to install only the compiler (if I remember well, only the MSDN documentation install could be skipped. And unfortunately, the install cycled from one CD to the other, the process declaring that some files were missing, which were reportedly on another CD ;)

After looking thoroughly in the lengthy troubleshooting FAQ which was provided with the distrib, I discovered that I had to download some file myself through internet, and install it at the right place by hand...

And this was the regular Visual Studio 6.0 distribution...