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Is Eclipse collapsing under its own weight?

Maybe Eclipse’s black-hole-like splash screen is more appropriate than its designers realize. Eclipse’s open architecture has enabled the creation of countless useful plugins, and that’s helped maintain its position as the leading Java IDE. But as plugins compound upon plugins, bugs and compatibility issues have been surfacing increasingly frequently, and I’m starting to get the sense the Eclipse developers have lost control.

I spent considerable time downloading Ganymede today for only one reason: I wanted to try the new JAX-WS WSDL First project wizard. It would be hard to come up with a geekier, more obscure name than that, but in essence the feature promised to allow me to create a web service with the click of a button, following various best practices. With great anticipation (okay, I’m exaggerating; with vague hopefulness) I downloaded Ganymede, and decided to try the wizard with the CXF web service library. Here’s the error I got:

Error instantiating builder 'org.eclipse.stp.sc.annvalidator'.
Plug-in org.eclipse.stp.sc.annvalidator was unable to load class org.eclipse.stp.sc.annvalidator.builder.AnnValidator.

What? Did they even test this? And who is Ann Validator anyway? A quick Google search turned up incomprehensible articles with titles like “AnnValidator missing from Ganymede Update”. The gist of the articles was basically “oh yeah, we should clean up our releases better”.

I’m probably oversimplifying the Eclipse point of view, but I don’t really care. The point is, now I have to research an obscure problem in order to perform something that should be the most basic of activities – creating a simple web service, using a fresh download of a supposedly mature IDE.

There is only one thing keeping me from switching to Netbeans immediately and recommending that everyone dump Eclipse: I’m still waiting for a good Perforce plugin. Okay, two things: I’m also addicted to Max Uermann’s Goto File plugin.

{ 3 } Comments

  1. Oisin Hurley | October 22, 2008 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    You might be interested to know that the STP PMC has recently voted to ‘retire’ that component.

    See – http://tinyurl.com/58gwgw

    A replacement for the capability (JAX-WS web services) code has been contributed to the WTP project.

    See – http://tinyurl.com/46ojkw

  2. Joe | October 22, 2008 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    Oisin, thanks for weighing in. Looks like you are already on top of this. Great to see this progress being made on WTP.

  3. Roger | January 9, 2009 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Actually I switched to NetBeans at home precisely because of that whole plug-ins downlaod mess. They don’t have the equivalent of JAX-WS WSDL First but out-of-the-box the box you get a robust WS-* support (including the JAX-WS 2.1), just look at:
    http://www.netbeans.org/features/web/web-services.html

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