The other day I started working on a JEE project of mine. Usually I use Eclipse JEE distribution on Linux for this. I setup a spanking new box with Kubuntu 8.0.4, Eclipse 3.4 Ganymede and JBoss AS 4x. The installations went fine and I fired up Eclipse to write the first line of code. Initial impressions were pretty good. I checked for updates to the Ganymede distribution through the Eclipse UI, found some and installed them. Thus I ended my first day with the peace of mind of having an environment that has been setup properly. 

I was in for a nasty surprise the next day. I started Eclipse and the thing would just not startup. Even the dialog box to select the workspace did not appear. A message about some error and a location of the error log was all that I got. I looked for the log and the file did not exist. I tried the -clean and the -debug flags and saw a permission denied error being reported. Why was this error not reported the previous day? Anyway, I corrected the permissions and fired up the IDE once more, and got an error saying too many open files. The max number of open file handles is an OS parameter on UNIX. I looked up the Kubuntu forums, figured out how to increase this limit, increased it and restarted Eclipse. The same damn error!!!

Frustrated I removed the previous installation, and along with it all the other plugins like Subclipse and JBoss Tools, and installed the software afresh. Installed the relevant plugins and fired it up. It worked like a charm. This time I did not update the distribution. Anyway, it was getting pretty late. So that was all for the second day.

The third day was more promising. Eclipse started up without any problems. I did some reverse engineering with JBoss Seam through the JBoss Seam perspective. Seam generates a JEE app out of a data model. Once that was done I switched to the JEE perspective. I double clicked on a .xhtml file and it opened with the default JBoss JSP editor. Now this editor has a code section at the top and a preview section at the bottom. Somehow I prefer a simpler editor. But once you install the JBoss Tools, the default editor switches to the JBoss one. In order to open a file with any other editor usually you have to right click and then select an option in the Open With context menu. When I tried to do so no context menu appeared. I tried right-clicking on some of the other artifacts and it showed up for some and not for the majority. Now this was FRUSTRATING!!! I switched to the Seam perpective and surprisingly the context menu was working without any hassles. What went wrong? Short and sweet, I do not know. Setting the default JSP editor in the Prefrences screen did not solve the problem either. Uninstalling the plugins is not a solution that I would accept since I need those.

So right now I am stuck with an Eclipse IDE that works partially; I would really prefer to have something that works better.

I have been a long time Eclipse user and thought very highly of this IDE till recently. The last two releases, Europa and Ganymede, have been big disappointments. I have used them on Linux and Windows systems. The IDE has become more prone to crashes and freeze-ups. I hope the Eclipse team does something about these problems.

This frustration with Eclipse, led me to try out the NetBean 6.1 IDE. Well, I have to admit that its a very very good IDE and in certain areas actually scores more than Eclipse. NetBeans had always been a very heavy and slow to respond software (because of Swing probably). Can’t say that anymore for the 6.1 version. It was snappy and worked smoothly.

Would I shift to it? Probably not immediately, but if Eclipse does not clean up its act, there would be quite a few converts for sure.