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Early calls to simplify Eclipse

Do it or lose it to NetBeans

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Improved usability and integration with other integrated development environments are the first features being called for in response to a request for feedback on the future Eclipse.

Detailed suggestions include improvements to scripting, better on-line documentation to help plug-in developers and the introduction of a value search facility within objects. Ways to improve scripting, for example, would be to automate script or to introduce Spring-like templates.

The biggest gripes about the current version of Eclipse are that menus are too complex and there is a lack of integration with other IDEs. Developers would like to see conversion tools that enable projects to be moved between Eclipse and other IDEs.

One developer warned that unless Eclipse is simplified to make development of applications for the Rich Client Platform easier, it could be outflanked by NetBeans from Sun Microsystems.

The debate over the future of Eclipse spilled into the public domain at the recent EclipseCon when project leaders were forced to defend what was seen by some as a move by IBM to dominate work on version 4.0, or e4. Since then, Eclipse Foundation chief Mike Milinkovich has publicly emphasised the importance of involving the wider developer community in creating the specifications for e4.

Early project committers outlined their goals for e4 at EclipseCon as including simplifying the "baroque" code base, better separation between the interface and data layers, and changes to scripting and Java support.®

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