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cross-platform (er, ide) challenges

Posted by michael_n on September 26, 2005 at 11:49 PM PDT

Once again, a company (to remain nameless... in fact, let's call this a hypothetical situation) made a broad, sweeping decision to commit all of its in-house developers to a single IDE platform for all internal development. Let's just say that it's either Eclipse or Netbeans. (No need to get all holy-[ide]-war in this post; that's not the point.)

One IDE for all... Sounds kinda silly, doesn't it. I mean, what difference does it make, which IDE you use, when you're developing Java.

But, there's a historical reason, and a future (pragmatic) vision for this decision, and I (unfortunately) have to agree with the corporate line in this case: the product that is being sold by Company X is a product that allows customers to futher "enhance" and customize the code; this will be aided in part by plugins developed by this same company. In the past, the developers themselves didn't eat their own dogfood, if you know what I mean, that that was apparent in the resulting quality of customization tools delivered.

Which brings me to the issue of the day: wouldn't it be nice if it were easier to write cross-platform (that is, cross-IDE) plugins?

There was a JavaOne session that I would have liked to have gone to, "Write Once, Plug Everywhere: Extending the Major Java IDEs - NetBeans, Eclipse, and JBuilder", by Mark Howe and Bob Evans. The plugin code was to be posted at sourceforge for comparison / analysis (various sf.net projects already "port" their work to various IDEs... eg., jrefactory jalopy, etc...) Various people (kindly) have posted a few notes from the JavaOne session on their blogs. I'd like to see, if anyone has the time and experience, more info on this. Although the plugin-approaches for the various IDEs are different, perhaps we'll see an open-source adapter framework emerge?

(Every time we solve a problem... we seem to just re-create it, don't we? I think we (developers... humanity) just enjoy standing in front of the drawing board.)

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