December 20, 2006

eclipse/cfeclipse gives me a headache

So I know I’m going to get a hard time from the die hard eclipse lovers out there. Don’t get me wrong, eclipse (or more precisely for me cfeclipse) is free to use and at that cost you can’t get any cheaper which is fantastic for all ColdFusion developers :)

Also I REALLY admire Rob Rohan, Mark Drew and all the other contributors this and every other open source product. It’s people like these who truly give something of value to the community at large. Well done.

Some of the things I love about eclipse/cfeclipse are:

  • Snippets and snippet variables
  • Free and open source
  • Plugins for CSS, Javascript, SVN etc
  • Code completion
  • Syntax highlighting

So with all these lovely features (and more) why does it sometimes make my life difficult? Well it’s the little things!

When I installed eclipse 3.2 (which I’ve done three times now on three different machines) I experienced memory leaks causing my code to magically duplicate itself in the editor pane. The only solution was to shut down that file and re-open it.

Why can’t I open a file which doesn’t exist in a ‘project’? Oh I understand the merits of keeping everything in a project, but tell me that this doesn’t annoy you when you want to look at a random file. Please don’t say “use notepad”.

In 3.2 after I add a comment (using the keyboard shortcut ctrl + shft + M) my cursor appears to the left of the comment block…not in the middle where I can start to write my comment.

The global replace (for me) is clunky. First you’ve got to know how to do it. Hit ctrl + h (or use the search menu option), then enter your text that you want to replace, hit search…oh but don’t forget to make sure that the ‘working set’ you are in is selected as by default it’s the last working set you searched in. After searching you’ll get another window to enter your replacement text, but you can’t choose to replace in “All open documents”.

Don’t get me started on auto-completing single and double quotes. It works well some of the time, but can trip you up if you’re not careful.

Why can’t I see the file path of the file I’m working on in the header? I know I know…you can hover over the tab and get a tooltip, but it’s just not the same.

Does your eclipse/cfeclipse suddenly ‘hang’ every now and then? Don’t worry, give it about 10 seconds and it’ll wake up again.

I’ve had discussions with some other developers who don’t seem to be having the same issues as me. But I’ve used 3 different versions of eclipse/cfeclipse on 3 different machines. Same problems.

The general concensus is that it’s probably plugins which are causing me pain. But the plugins are one of the main reasons I use cfeclipse!. Plugins for SVN and Aptana etc are very handy. Where am I if I suddenly can’t use plugins? Well back using Homesite I think. I used Homesite before eclipse, and apart from the plugins (and of course the AUD$139 cost) why would I want to use eclipse?

I’m sure this is close to heart for many of you out there as most developers I know are proud to use eclipse/cfeclipse as am I. But I’m willing to pay for a smooth ride. Please please please feel free to enlighten me if you think I’m way off track here. At the end of the day I just want an editor which gives me no problems and has the main features a developer (not designer, note I didn’t mention the design view of Dreamweaver) needs.

© Michael Sharman 2017