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Why do we need a Book

 
Pradeep bhatt
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Hi Joe,
I was just wondering why we need a book for IDE.
Is Eclipse complicated to use?
 
Edwin Keeton
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My impression is that the Eclipse UI is a bit unintuitive. But it's simple to use (and powerful) once you know how.
Maybe it's just me, but I learn best through example. I need to learn how to do something before I can get too deep into the why. I'm also admittedly lazy, otherwise I wouldn't still be programming after all these years.
Anyway, since I don't work with anybody who already knows how to use Eclipse, I bought the book "Eclipse In Action" from Manning Press and found it to be worth every penny in the time and aggravation it has spared me.
I wasn't previously aware of Mr. Pluta's "Step by Step book, but it seems that it may complement the material in the one I already have, so I might buy this one too. (Assuming I don't get lucky and win it.)
Ed
 
Joe Pluta
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Hi Pradeep! If you're already an expert at VisualAge for Java, you'll have little or no trouble learning Eclipse. Many of the concepts are exactly the same (which is no surprise, since the same group of really bright folks was responsible for both products).
If you've used JBuilder or Sun ONE Studio, then you'll probably still be able to pick up most of Eclipse. However, some of the concepts, such as perspectives, take a little getting used to.
As Ed pointed out, for many people (myself included) the best way to learn is by example. That's how I teach, as well. I give seminars all over the country on beginning Java and web application development, and by far the best results come from hands-on lab sessions. Eclipse: Step by Step was created with that thought in mind. Rather than a lot of isolated examples, the book shows you how to create a complete, working business application from start to finish.
Joe
 
Ilja Preuss
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When Eclipse became accepted at my workplace, there weren't many questions on how to use it. So I don't think it is very complex to start with.
On the other hand, every time two coworkers sit together for some minutes, you regularly here comments along the lines of "oh - you can do *that*?" or "wow - you have to tell me that keystroke". It's those tiny little tricks which make Eclipse so much fun to work with.
 
Joe Pluta
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Originally posted by Ilja Preuss:
When Eclipse became accepted at my workplace, there weren't many questions on how to use it. So I don't think it is very complex to start with.
On the other hand, every time two coworkers sit together for some minutes, you regularly here comments along the lines of "oh - you can do *that*?" or "wow - you have to tell me that keystroke". It's those tiny little tricks which make Eclipse so much fun to work with.

Ilja, I'm glad you have the luxury of working with a company that made Eclipse a standard tool! It's very nice to have a knowledgeable coworker to sit with when you're first starting out.
For people who are trying to learn on their own, however, Eclipse can be as daunting as any other Open Source product. You have to know where to get the code, how to install it, how to create a project, how to create a class. All those little things that people take for granted are sometimes the stumbling blocks that frustrate first time users who don't have a coworker to turn to.
I like to think of Eclipse: Step by Step as the substitute for the knowledgeable coworker for those of us who have to learn these things on our own .
Joe
 
Jeff Langr
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I found Eclipse to be different enough when I first started using it (some time ago) that I ended up going through its tutorial (something I've not typically done with IDEs). Doing the tutorial helped me understand how to best work with perspectives and views. Beyond that, I didn't feel the need for a book, but I would definitely get one if I were to do plugin development. What does the book of the week provide with respect to plugin development?
To get to the tutorial: select Help->Help Contents off the menu; click into Workbench User Guide->Getting Started.
-Jeff L.
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http://www.langrsoft.com
 
Joe Pluta
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Originally posted by Jeff Langr:What does the book of the week provide with respect to plugin development?

Nothing. I think Eclipse in Action is a much better book for that purpose. What Eclipse: Step by Step does is teach you how to write a working application in the Eclipse IDE. Tutorials are fine introductory tools, but they tend to be somewhat disjointed. Eclipse: Step by Step is a complete, linear path from installation to application, with no steps left out. Along the way, you'll be introduced to the various facets of Eclipse, as well as SWT and JDBC, and see how Eclipse allows you to pull all those pieces together into a real, working business program.
Joe
 
Jon Poole
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Why a book like Joe's? For me at least, even though I find Eclipse pretty easy to use, I'm sure it has way more capability than I'm aware of. Books like this often show me things I didn't know it would do, or better yet, short-cuts for features I already know about.
 
Joe Pluta
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Originally posted by Jon Poole:
Why a book like Joe's? For me at least, even though I find Eclipse pretty easy to use, I'm sure it has way more capability than I'm aware of. Books like this often show me things I didn't know it would do, or better yet, short-cuts for features I already know about.

Jon, that's one of the key concepts for Eclipse: Step by Step. Throughout the book I try to show alternate ways of doing things. For example, in one chapter I'll show how to use a menu option, while the next time you need to do the same thing, I may show you a keyboard shortcut. That way, you're exposed to several different ways of doing standard tasks, and you can find the way best suited to your own particular programming style.
Joe
 
Ilja Preuss
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Originally posted by Joe Pluta:

Ilja, I'm glad you have the luxury of working with a company that made Eclipse a standard tool!

In fact I am working at a company without a standard IDE - every developer is free to choose what he likes most. It's just that even the most fanatic emacs user has converted to Eclipse now...
 
Sal DiStefano
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Productivity I would say is a good reason to use a book to learn an IDE! I have used dozens of IDE's over the years and I can get around most pretty well just from prior knowledge and experience. The key with Eclipse is the incredible number of features. I would never have figured these out without using a guide to many of these features. You can always use the documentation but I find a well written book weeds through the docs and gives you the info you need to get going quickly.
Just my 2 cents
Sal
 
Joe Pluta
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Originally posted by Sal DiStefano:Productivity I would say is a good reason to use a book to learn an IDE!

Sal, this is a great point, and it's really the reason I wrote Eclipse: Step by Step. The hardest thing for me in learning a new language or tool is getting started. For an IDE, if somebody shows me how to do the basic stuff - create a project, import a file, debug a line of code - then I'm immediately productive and I can spend a little extra time learning the specific nuances of the new environment. That way, I can do my job and at the same time start to take advantage of the unique new capabilities at my own pace.
The other Eclipse books are great references and will show you everything you need to know about Eclipse, but there's nothing like a good, hands-on tutorial to give you a jumpstart, and that's what Eclipse: Step by Step is designed to be.
Joe
 
Gregg Bolinger
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Originally posted by Joe Pluta:
...but there's nothing like a good, hands-on tutorial to give you a jumpstart,...
Joe

Amen Brother!
 
Frank Carver
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Interesting. Does the book cover much of the Eclipse team's view of what an IDE actually is?
My own history with Eclipse is that I have always found anything calling itself an IDE as essentially bloated and pointless compared with a fast, effective editor and a good build system like Ant. After a lot of recommendations here I dipped my toe in the water, but found it incomprehensible. Even the simplest things like editing a text file, seemed clumsy or impossible, and I spent several weeks and many messages here trying to get any kind of refactoring to work. I gave up for a few months, as I simply couldn't get any work done using Eclipse.
Eventually Ilja convinced me to have another try, and I persevered because I desperately wanted a way to simplify CVS access, and really like the idea of automated refactoring. I now use Eclipse a lot for all my own projects, but I'm sure there are still large areas that I don't use. I don't think this is becaue I'm particularly stupid, but it's because I have no previous experience with IDEs of any sort, and a poor mental model of what an IDE might offer, and how it might work.
Although I work almost exlusively with web applications, for example, I have never installed any of the J2EE plugins because I have difficulty seeing what benefits they would bring compared with my existing ant-based build and deployment process.
Might your book help get me over this "understanding hump" ?
 
Joe Pluta
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Originally posted by Frank Carver:
Interesting. Does the book cover much of the Eclipse team's view of what an IDE actually is?

No, Frank, sorry. There's limited space in a book, and in this one the space was devoted to perspectives, the JDT, importing code, debugging, using external jars - in short, all the stuff required to do standalone development. I really didn't go into anything about team development, which is an entire subject in and of itself, nor did I handle any J2EE issues, since none of those are part of base Eclipse.
Joe
 
Frank Carver
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I really didn't go into anything about team development, which is an entire subject in and of itself, nor did I handle any J2EE issues, since none of those are part of base Eclipse
I guess I wasn't very clear, as that's not really what I intended to ask. I'll try and rephrase:
Does your book cover an overview of what an IDE is, to enable people who have never used anything other than a straight text editor to guess correctly at what might be available and how to make things work?
Consider the difference between a recipe book and a book about cooking. With just a recipe book, if I haven't got any oregano, I can't make the meal. But a book about cooking might help me understand why the oregano is there, and what might be a reasonable substitution. The recipe book might say "saute the onions", but if I've never sauteed before that might make no sense.
Is your book a bunch of recipes for using Eclipse, or can it help someone with no IDE experience actually understand how to use it?
 
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