Letting go of Eclipse.

Submitted by rochaus on Sat, 02/26/2022 - 17:45

My personal experience with the beloved Eclipse framework.

I had been using Eclipse when I finished school in 2006 and finally stopped using it as my main Java IDE at the end of 2019.  Until then, I honestly believed that I had absolutely no reason NOT to use Eclipse for Java development.  it’s free. easy to use. easy to update. it’s FREE! I had also seen the many faces that Eclipse over the years, from just adding version numbers to splash screen to the very clever names that have been used to signify the frameworks milestones. Eclipse is a good product and it has served me well in my journey through Java.  The Eclipse framework is an open-source project and it has been used as the base framework for various other products. Some products are commercial and some, like Eclipse, are free. For example, the Spring Tool Suite is a fantastic free one. It is very similar to Eclipse itself but geared specifically for the Spring framework. STS was my main Java IDE for a long time.

But, since I do more than just Java, I would often install plugins from the Eclipse Marketplace to work with other languages and frameworks. STS didn’t really seem to work well with some of the third-party plugins, so I eventually found my way back to the latest Eclipse version, Oxygen. Another great IDE built on the Eclipse framework was Adobe Flex Builder. Flex is the weird cousin of Flash and people already started to have issues with Flash, so I guess it was inevitable that Flex would fall away as Flash lost favor  (to be banished forever by the web security police), all the same, Flex was a very cool and powerful Development tool and Language (I want to note that JavaFX is primarily the same type of language kit as Flex was, and I understand JavaFX was in development first). Flex had some awesome features that made it relatively easy to create an interactive web interface with data-binding capabilities, which was what every enterprise-level corporation was looking for. On the not-so-great list of Eclipse-based IDE’s; the testing tool-set Rational (IBM) developed like Load Tester and Functional Tester seemed clunky and hard to use. To be fair, at the time I had exposure to Rational, I was still learning Java, so, that may have added to my frustrations, that and my lack of understanding of how to apply the tools properly. 

A more recent free IDE built on the Eclipse framework, and also a testing tool is Katalon. Katalon has some great potential as a test tool. A hybrid, of sorts, the core libraries are derived from Selenium so it has the ability to serve as a web recorder (browser plugins are also available), capturing objects as you navigate your application and as a scripting tool where you can add logic and loops for common functions and more hand-tooled testing. Ironically, there is an essence of  Mercury Quick Test Pro (now known as Hewlett Packard Quick Test Pro) is the overall functionality of the application with the object spy and how the objects are stored in general. Why this is ironic, is a complete story on its own. Apparently, the reason the Selenium suite of test tools (widely used in web testing) was named ‘Selenium’ was because of its namesake, the mineral,  being the cure for mercury poisoning. The rub being, Mercury, proprietor of Quick Test Pro dominated the testing market for a long time. So, it’s funny to see this marriage of both tools and well done, I might add. The issues I have are related to the saving functionality, but, I understand that there are a lot of moving parts in this particular application, so I am a bit forgiving. Overall, I do like this tool and highly recommend its use.

Back to why I stopped using Eclipse.

It happened while I was watching a video… I often look at new and different technologies other than what I am currently using, as well as, enhancing my knowledge of the technologies I do use. Whilst doing such activity on the topic of Thymleaf templates, a  video by the ‘Spring Guru – https://springframework.guru/about/’ where he was using IntelliJ by JetBrains. I have used JetBrains products before, I had bought a copy of WebStorm, used PyCharm and tried out PHPStorm for work, and I was already impressed with many of the features  f the general UI in the product-line.