Holy Moly, is Eclipse the worst IDE ever?

gregulator

Senior member
Apr 23, 2000
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Wow, just decided to dive into Android development today and am beyond baffled by how horrible of an IDE Eclipse is. I typically do a lot of embedded stuff, so I use MPLAB or Keil frequently, and then MS Visual Studio C# for high level stuff. I have been really impressed with Visual Studio, not sure how it scales on huge projects, but for quick and dirty, it is pretty amazing.

But then I dove into this nightmare. It took a while to get all the dependencies straight to even get into Eclipse. Now that I am in it, it is so sluggish (maybe just the Android SDK), and there are tons of bugs with the GUI, like copy/paste not working. I am baffled by how bad it is. Has everyone else had this experience? I am working in Win 7 on a decent machine, maybe it is better on Linux? Either way, I am really impressed the the sheer suck-factor.
 

tfinch2

Lifer
Feb 3, 2004
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But then I dove into this nightmare. It took a while to get all the dependencies straight to even get into Eclipse. Now that I am in it, it is so sluggish (maybe just the Android SDK), and there are tons of bugs with the GUI, like copy/paste not working. I am baffled by how bad it is. Has everyone else had this experience? I am working in Win 7 on a decent machine, maybe it is better on Linux? Either way, I am really impressed the the sheer suck-factor.
I have developed plug-ins for the Eclipse platform over the last couple of years for internal developers, and it is actually a very impressive piece of free software.

What dependencies are you having issues with? If you downloaded it recently, a new version (Juno) was just released, which involves major API changes. It could be that the Android SDK tooling has not been updated to function properly with the new APIs, or the backwards compatibility 3.x API layer has some bugs or unanticipated side-effects.

If this is the case, I would recommend downloading an older version (3.7.2), and giving that a try.

Also, the JVM settings out of the box (configuration in eclipse.ini) are pretty terrible if you are doing anything other than compiling Hello World with JDT.

EDIT: Looks like Google has released a version for Juno (https://developers.google.com/eclipse/docs/install-eclipse-4.2).
 
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gregulator

Senior member
Apr 23, 2000
631
4
81
Well you were right, the ini file was a huge issue. The first problem I had was with Java itself. Come to find out, the 32-bit version was installed, not 64-bit (I am guessing it was installed because of a website asking for it, and automatically choosing 32-bit version), and I didn't know where to edit the target for the Java VM.

Also, setting the min/max memory settings in the ini has made a huge difference, copy paste works! What a pain though, I wish there were better install scripts to guide you through this crap. I am fearful that a large Android project would really bring Eclipse to its knees...
 

pauldun170

Diamond Member
Sep 26, 2011
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Never had any major issues with latest couple of Eclipse releases or RAD 6-8 (IBM's spin on it).
RAD tied together with RTC has proven to be pretty good.

Gotta set some time aside to play around in Visual Studio again.
 

Fayd

Diamond Member
Jun 28, 2001
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Wow, just decided to dive into Android development today and am beyond baffled by how horrible of an IDE Eclipse is. I typically do a lot of embedded stuff, so I use MPLAB or Keil frequently, and then MS Visual Studio C# for high level stuff. I have been really impressed with Visual Studio, not sure how it scales on huge projects, but for quick and dirty, it is pretty amazing.

But then I dove into this nightmare. It took a while to get all the dependencies straight to even get into Eclipse. Now that I am in it, it is so sluggish (maybe just the Android SDK), and there are tons of bugs with the GUI, like copy/paste not working. I am baffled by how bad it is. Has everyone else had this experience? I am working in Win 7 on a decent machine, maybe it is better on Linux? Either way, I am really impressed the the sheer suck-factor.
i wasn't able to get the dependencies figured out on windows. so i just loaded a VM of linux, and installed it in that. works natively.

(using c++)
 

postmortemIA

Diamond Member
Jul 11, 2006
7,701
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91
Yeah, it is terrible. Visual Studio is by far the best IDE, nothing comes close.
Perhaps for you, if you didn't use anything better, or didn't understand its limitations. However, VS is generally despised by people coding more than Windows software. Debugger is surely nice, but that's about it. It might serve well for Windows only developing, but world is moving away from that.

1. Eclipse and Netbeans support many languages: PHP, Perl, Python, C/C++, JAVA SE, JAVA EE, etc.
2. Both support many platforms and compilers, while VS works only on Windows and with MS compilers
3. Both Nebeans and Eclipse own VS when it comes to understanding and navigating code. VS editor can't understand OO code at all, and for example it can't build proper call graph if function is virtual (same function name exist in different classes). On the other hand, Eclipse and NB use compiler to parse the code.
4. VS has weak integration with SVN and other configuration management tools, while with other two you can do anything you want within the IDE.
5. VS has very backwards way of setting up projects. Project files must be added via GUI. Project options must be setup in GUI. Any file you add to project will be compiled, so you can't easily support multiple configurations. A more powerful ways are used in C/C++ with makefiles and Java Ant/Maven. Just flexibility is not there - there is only one way to do projects.
 

Net

Golden Member
Aug 30, 2003
1,592
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Increase the amount of ram eclipse can use -xmx in eclipse .ini. 1 or 2 gb if available

Change android emulators virtual memory, 64 mb (high vm will make it slow)
 

tfinch2

Lifer
Feb 3, 2004
22,119
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Another thing, the Android emulator sucks. Whenever I am doing Android development, I build the APK, push it to my tablet, and test there. Way better performance and way less frustrating. I only use the emulator to test things like UI scaling with different resolutions.
 

Markbnj

Elite Member <br>Moderator Emeritus
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Sep 16, 2005
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Perhaps for you, if you didn't use anything better, or didn't understand its limitations. However, VS is generally despised by people coding more than Windows software. Debugger is surely nice, but that's about it. It might serve well for Windows only developing, but world is moving away from that.

1. Eclipse and Netbeans support many languages: PHP, Perl, Python, C/C++, JAVA SE, JAVA EE, etc.
2. Both support many platforms and compilers, while VS works only on Windows and with MS compilers
3. Both Nebeans and Eclipse own VS when it comes to understanding and navigating code. VS editor can't understand OO code at all, and for example it can't build proper call graph if function is virtual (same function name exist in different classes). On the other hand, Eclipse and NB use compiler to parse the code.
4. VS has weak integration with SVN and other configuration management tools, while with other two you can do anything you want within the IDE.
5. VS has very backwards way of setting up projects. Project files must be added via GUI. Project options must be setup in GUI. Any file you add to project will be compiled, so you can't easily support multiple configurations. A more powerful ways are used in C/C++ with makefiles and Java Ant/Maven. Just flexibility is not there - there is only one way to do projects.
1 and 2 aren't that meaningful to most people, honestly. In general you want an environment that works well across the platform you're developing for. In the Microsoft tech. stack VS works really well. In the iOS stack XCode works pretty well. In the LAMP-ish family of technology stacks Eclipse, Netbeans, and Aptana all do a decent job. I don't care for Eclipse's concept of presenting projects and their contents, but that's just a personal preference. Overall I also find Eclipse less polished than VS, or even than Aptana.

Not sure what you mean on 3. .NET has complete runtime metadata for all methods and properties. I traverse call graphs fairly often and I don't recall a problem with them.

4 is true for independent VCS's, and in those cases I'd probably use Tortoise anyway, however Visual Studio has awesome integration with Team Foundation Server.

I don't agree with 5. You have complete control over build actions for individual source files: you can choose to compile them, not compile them, copy them, process them through an external tool, etc. You have a lot of flexibility in terms of setting up different build configurations, and if you need more you can drop down to MSBuild and write scripts. I don't think there is a lot of difference in this area.
 

Train

Lifer
Jun 22, 2000
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VS has perfectly fine integration with SCM's, for SVN you can install the Ankh plugin. Most people prefer to use Tortoise though. For git there are several add on/plugin options that are all actively developed.
 

RedCOMET

Platinum Member
Jul 8, 2002
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VS has perfectly fine integration with SCM's, for SVN you can install the Ankh plugin. Most people prefer to use Tortoise though. For git there are several add on/plugin options that are all actively developed.
For my current project i'm on, I use Ankh plugin for VS, and Tortoise.

As for navigating around large codebases, I find the Resharper plugin for VS to be extremely helpful.

As for netbeans and Eclipse, I prefer to netbeans over eclipse. I have found that some plugins and features are easier to setup on one than the other at times.
 

dwell

pics?
Oct 9, 1999
5,190
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I can't beleive anyone uses Eclipse for anything. IntelliJ IDEA is vastly superior in every way. The free community edition let's you do just about everything you'll need including Android development.

You really need to download plugins for simple stuff in Eclipse like git, Maven, SVN? Every time I tried to install the SVN plugin for Eclipse something end up breaking.

There's also a paid edition that does a lot more include web dev, but for all the stuff I do I the side I have never had a need for it.

The language parsing, code analysis, and refactoring tools beat any IDE out there, including Visual Studio, which is why they offer a version of their engine for VS called ReSharper.
 

cbaat

Junior Member
Jul 14, 2012
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This is an opinion, YMMV.

I think Eclipse is great.

Dependencies: I downloaded the ZIP file, extracted its contents, and ran eclipse.exe. It has to be one of the easiest and fastest installations I've ever done, and I've done it on several computers.

Slow: That has not been my experience at all. It is quite responsive for me.

Buggy GUI: I have only seen one bug in the GUI, which is very minor. Specifically, on very rare occasions, the text cursor will disappear from the editing pane. However, this is extremely rare. In many months of usage I have only seen it a few times. And simply clicking on another component to focus it and then clicking back on the editor will restore it. Other than that I have seen no GUI bugs.

The features are great. The code completion works extremely well and saves a lot of time. Real-time compiling of the code means I can run the project immediately whenever I want. Also it generates perfectly accurate compiler warnings and errors in real time and gives shortcuts to perform basic fixes/cleanup to solve the problem. The integrated display of Javadoc is very helpful. The integrated debugger is very powerful. It has syntax-aware code searching, which is a huge improvement over a primitive text-matching search (which of course it also has if needed). The refactoring tools are powerful and get the job done correctly. It's easy to add libraries to a project and to include links to the libraries' source code and Javadoc so you can immediately view the Javadoc or source code for any libraries you're using. Also the management of projects is very easy. It doesn't mind at all if you add, move, delete, and edit files outside of the IDE. You are not restricted to managing the project files through the IDE. You can just toss them around like ordinary files and the IDE will adjust itself accordingly. In general, I've seen IDEs with a lot of features that don't really do much to enhance productivity. I can genuinely say, however, that many of the features in Eclipse make an immediately noticeable improvement in productivity.

Overall I am very happy with it. I do wish, however, it had some kind of GUI design tool built in by default.

Now as a disclaimer, I have not used it for Android development, just plain Java. Also I have not used Visual Studio so I cannot compare it on that basis.

However I have used Netbeans and I greatly prefer Eclipse. Eclipse has very extensive customization of the editors and it really works. I like to use 3-wide tab stops for indentation. I don't want to argue about indentation preferences, but what's important here is you can set your preferences in Eclipse and they will actually work perfectly. In Netbeans if you try to set it to use tabs or even just use a different number of spaces it will generate a huge nasty mess, at least as of the last time I tried it, which was probably last year sometime.
 
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BrightCandle

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Mar 15, 2007
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I can't speak to the current ADK but certainly the older versions for 3.0 era were just like using normal plain old Eclipse. Eclipse is normally a reasonably quick IDE, but you have to remember these are GB sized applications and they load a lot of code. They are big and complex and in general you will want a meaty machine to run them. SSDs + high end quad cores + lots of RAM all help to push them along faster.

Eclipses primary bonus over the other 2 big IDEs is its incremental compiler, its what sets it apart from IntelliJ and Netbeans. It makes tools like Infinitest really useful. That quick feedback cycle is what makes Eclipse great and the tool of choice for most Java professionals. IntelliJ has better refactoring and code analysis tooling without a doubt, if only they would write an incremental compiler instead of avoiding saves! Netbeans has a lot more general support out of the box, its built in profiler for example is the best free one I know of. But Netbeans historically has had a poorly responding GUI and its rarely best in breed when comparing to IntelliJ or Eclipse on particular features.

Saying that SVN in eclipse has pretty much always been broken. People do use plugins but personally I have had nothing but problems with it. Just use a separate SVN client and don't worry about it, IDE support is far from necessary.
 

exdeath

Lifer
Jan 29, 2004
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it is so sluggish
Welcome to Java, the only language and development architecture that takes 2 GB of resources, 1,200 files, and 30 seconds to display a 3 kilobyte email message (Lotus Notes) and 30 MB to display "Hello World" (Android).

At the rate software and language bloat is increasing, basic wrist watches are going to require 1 GB of RAM.
 
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Markbnj

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Welcome to Java, the only language and development architecture that takes 2 GB of resources, 1,200 files, and 30 seconds to display a 3 kilobyte email message (Lotus Notes) and 30 MB to display "Hello World" (Android).

At the rate software and language bloat is increasing, basic wrist watches are going to require 1 GB of RAM.
Yeah but at the rate memory is advancing they'll be able to put 10 GB on the end of the little winder thing.
 

BrightCandle

Diamond Member
Mar 15, 2007
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All just to do the same simple task they did 100 years ago, and not be as good at it.
It'll likely be much more feature full and/or cheaper. Developers don't waste the RAM they are now given, they use it. The problem is that users don't agree that a 2x increase in features should map to a 5x increase in RAM usage, but that is based on a faulty expectation of complexity.

Memory is so incredibly cheap there really is no reason to complain about any application that fits within the 4GB limit.
 

Train

Lifer
Jun 22, 2000
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Welcome to Java, the only language and development architecture that takes 2 GB of resources, 1,200 files, and 30 seconds to display a 3 kilobyte email message (Lotus Notes) and 30 MB to display "Hello World" (Android).

At the rate software and language bloat is increasing, basic wrist watches are going to require 1 GB of RAM.
Java and other VM/Runtime based languages weren't designed to make an optimal hello world. They were designed to make 50k line business apps easy to develop and deploy. Edit: and most importantly: maintain without breaking everything.

Lotus Notes is a bad example.
 
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Fallen Kell

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
5,362
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I loved eclipse back in the day, but that was about 12 years ago. I fired up the new one a year or two ago and was just confused as hell with it. They made so many fundamental design changes on so many things that just didn't make sense. Previously it was a nice clean view to your different files within the project, showing your functions/methods/objects that you had developed, and allowing you to easily manage them. Now, there are about 20-30 hoops that you have to jump through to get it to do anything properly. While I can see why those things are required, it just is such a huge step back from the versions I used extensively back in the day doing java programming....
 

dwell

pics?
Oct 9, 1999
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Java and other VM/Runtime based languages weren't designed to make an optimal hello world. They were designed to make 50k line business apps easy to develop and deploy. Edit: and most importantly: maintain without breaking everything.

Lotus Notes is a bad example.
The problem is Java developers tend to be these enterprise architects who try to over-engineer everything. They'll write a Hello World app with a hierarchy of classes, AOP layer, persistance layer, test suite, etc. It's such a scam and has gotten way out of hand recently and given Java a bad name.

I see a trend of lighter, more flexible frameworks and languages that run on the JVM. Java's become this century's COBOL.
 
Dec 30, 2004
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The problem is Java developers tend to be these enterprise architects who try to over-engineer everything. They'll write a Hello World app with a hierarchy of classes, AOP layer, persistance layer, test suite, etc. It's such a scam and has gotten way out of hand recently and given Java a bad name.
lol!
 

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