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Developer
Posts: 73
Registered: ‎11-02-2009
My Device: Not Specified
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Eclipse JDE Plugin

Hello,

 

I'm posting this message for advice and out of my general concern for the current state of the eclipse plugin for JDE.

As a new comer to blackberry development, I have been trying to optimise some process for the development team to

make their jobs a bit easier, to be specific, the ability to debug our application in eclipse using the simulator.  I have been successful in developing a simple app which I can with ease, invoke the debugger, however, I'd like to enquire about 2 main problems I've noticed

 

1)  Being constrained to the src folder for source

 

2) Not being able to include 3rd party libraries in a blackberry workspace.

 

Problem no.1 isn't too great an issue, it's a pain, but not as serious as (2).  As you know, most java applications use open source libraries and by preventing the incorporation of third party libraries, life becomes very difficult, and I guess in some cases, people/companies will drop the whole thing and move to a different platform.

 

What I really want to know is this, are you working to correct these problems and deliver a new release anytime soon?

I hope you are because in it's current state, you are sending out a bad message to developers, youenjoy  only have to google problems with eclise JDE plugin to see what I mean.  I enjoy developing for the blackberry, but the absence of a debugger is a pretty serious issue.  Given the fact that both Eclipse and Netbeans are the mainstreams IDEs, you'll have to accept that most people are NOT going to drop that to use your own custom made Java IDE.

 

There have been talks in my team about moving to another platform  and this is one of the major factors as bug fixing is a nightmare without a debugger and we have standardized on using eclipse.

 

If the task of fixing this is too great, why not make it open source and you'll get an idea of how much of an issue it is and how much people are willing to invest to make it better.

 

Developer
Posts: 1,474
Registered: ‎04-14-2009
My Device: Not Specified

Re: Eclipse JDE Plugin

I thought the BlackBerry Plug-In for Eclipse comes with a debugger that is very similar the debugger that comes with the JDE. JDE's debugger is pretty OK.

Developer
Posts: 73
Registered: ‎11-02-2009
My Device: Not Specified

Re: Eclipse JDE Plugin

I didn't say that the plugin doesn't provide access to a debugger, the problem is with the environmental constraints forced upon the developer.  to recap:

 

(1)  src is the only "offically" recognised source directory for the plugin, any attempts to change this are useless.

 

(2)  Third party libraries cannot be imported into a blackberry workspace.

 

(1)  is obviously a pain, but not something i'm losing sleep over, it's more (2) that's annoying.  A plugin is supposed to aid the developer, but this one is on the other end of the help spectrum, being very antagonistic.  I'm assuming RIM was to encourage developers to produce software on their platform, but this plugin sends out the wrong message...

 

You mentioned you like JDE IDE (the one that comes with RIM software, what you need to understand is that Eclipse and netbeans are the mainstream IDEs out there.  You can't expect people to export projects into another IDE just to debug it, I've not tried that, but I would imagine it would be a nightmare and I doubt my team would be head over heels about that approach.  Here is another person with the same issue: http://www.thinkingblackberry.com/archives/204

 

I found tons of complaints from people about this plugin today, and I doubt I can justify using it in the future. I suspect it will be Android or .net as we need access to a debugger. Some of the complains are dated back to the end of 2008 and nothing has been done about this so I'm wondering why it's not made open source?  If RIM don't care or don't have any inclination to put it right, then let some people who can.

 

 

Developer
Posts: 1,474
Registered: ‎04-14-2009
My Device: Not Specified

Re: Eclipse JDE Plugin

JDE as an IDE is definitelt pretty weak compred to Eclipse and the likes. I've never used the JDE for more than (1) building the binaries, and (2) occasionally debugging them using the Debugger. I've always used Eclipse as the IDE for editing the source code without any additional support for BlackBerry. I suppose, since I've been doing this for quite a while I'm very content with the setup and I know very well how it all works and what to expect. I had a look at the BlackBerry Plug-In for Eclipse and gathered some feedback from other developers I know. I'm not migrating to the Eclipse plug-in unless forced to.

 

So, if you don't like the Eclipse plug-in, and if you can live without the Debugger being integrated with Eclipse, you can try using JDE for building and debugging, and Eclipse (without any BlackBerry plug-ins) for working with the source code.

Developer
Posts: 73
Registered: ‎11-02-2009
My Device: Not Specified

Re: Eclipse JDE Plugin

Do you know if there is any incentive to solve the bugs addressed in the plugin or if it's going to be left in the condition it is?

if I know there is a scheduled release in the very near future, i'm willing to hang on, but if the workaround to this problem is to drop eclipse/automated builds with ANT and context switch between two IDEs to provide debugging support, i'd be better off moving to another platform with an IDE that gives me all the tools I need.  I have looked at JDE with an open mind, but from a management standpoint, I doubt I can convince anyone to drop eclipse.


Since a plugin was developed in the first place for eclipse, there must be people out there who feel the same and I'm sure RIM are aware of that fact, all I need to know is if there is still active development going on for the plugin with the stated intention of fixing the previously mentioned problems or if the plugin is abandoned?  If this the correct forum to ask these questions?  If the plugin is to be discontinued, I'd hope RIM would make it open source.

Developer
Posts: 1,474
Registered: ‎04-14-2009
My Device: Not Specified

Re: Eclipse JDE Plugin

Long time ago, when there was only the JDE available to third-party developers, RIM must have received plenty of negative feedback about JDE not really being a decent IDE (I'm guessing here). So, the pacify some of the unhappy developers, they released the first beta version of the Eclipse Plug-In, which lacked some important features and didn't work in some cases, but it was OK for a beta release. I'm telling this to emphasize why the Plug-In was originally inferior to the JDE.

 

I think RIM are aiming at having the Eclipse Plug-In as powerful and usable as the JDE + Eclipse/Netbeans/IDEA combo, but given that the plug-in is still inferior, it just feels like there isn't just enough political support for this direction inside RIM (I'm just wildly speculating here). It would be interesting to know what fraction of RIM's own Java application developers use the Eclipse Plug-In instead of JDE in their daily work.

 

It's a pity that after 2+ years of Eclipse Plug-In, it comes across like a half-baked product. It might be better than JDE + proper IDE combo in some areas such as integration, but it lacks in many other areas and has weird issues, bugs, and other types of undocumented behavior. Then again, I might be having this impression only because I already know most of issues in the JDE.

 

May be somebody from RIM can comment in this thread on the future direction of the Eclipse Plug-In.

Developer
Posts: 1,474
Registered: ‎04-14-2009
My Device: Not Specified

Re: Eclipse JDE Plugin

P.S. You don't need to drop automated builds. You can either automatically generate a Makefile and then run NMAKE on it, or you can use special Ant tasks. You can still invoke both of these mechanisms from Eclipse without having to deal with the BlackBerry Plug-In for Eclipse. So, in my opinion, the only serious thing that you might end up missing is the integration of the Debugger with Eclipse's source code editor/nagivator.

Developer
Posts: 1,474
Registered: ‎04-14-2009
My Device: Not Specified

Re: Eclipse JDE Plugin

P.P.S. JDE's JDP and JDW files are much more source-control friendly than the .classpath and the likes which the Eclipse Plug-In creates. Again, it may well be that I simply don't know how to properly use the plug-in to avoid these issues.

Developer
Posts: 73
Registered: ‎11-02-2009
My Device: Not Specified

Re: Eclipse JDE Plugin

Thanks for the replies on this thread, do you know if RIM have a forum where I can forward this thead of discussion on to?

i'd really like to know where they stand with regards to the futured development on the eclipse plugin.  Obviously they are not

going to give me definitive answers to these questions, but i would be interested to know if they will be releasing a new version in the near future.

 

I'll take a look at using JDE.  I suppose I'll need to write ant tasks to structure the code in a way that works with JDE.  This is less than ideal, as i'd rather stick to one IDE.  If the code for the plugin was open source and i knew a little bit more about the debugger, I'd gladly have a crack at writing my own.  This is obviously wishful thinking...

Developer
Posts: 1,474
Registered: ‎04-14-2009
My Device: Not Specified

Re: Eclipse JDE Plugin

If you are by any chance going to the Developer Conference in San Francisco next week, then that would be an excellent opportunity for you to ask various people at RIM about the plug-in's future.