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Contributing to Eclipse-Principles, Patterns, and Plug-Ins by Erich Gamma, Kent Beck

 
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<pre>Author/s : Erich Gamma, Kent Beck
Publisher : Addison-Wesley
Category : Miscellaneous Java
Review by : Nathan Pruett
Rating : 9 horseshoes
</pre>
Eclipse is the name of both an open source IDE and the extensible framework that it is built upon. A little experience of using Eclipse as an IDE, and a desire to extend the framework further are needed for this book. Before you know it, you'll be developing your first plug-in. Of course, it's a 'Hello World', but it introduces the concepts you need to go on to bigger and better things. The 'bigger and better' thing the book provides is a JUnit plug-in that performs automatic unit tests during builds. The authors don't just teach you how to build a plug-in, but how to build a plug-in that 'plays well with others' and allows for your plug-in to be extended in the future. Wrapping up the book are a collection of 'pattern stories' describing some of the design patterns used in Eclipse. The clear writing style and the flow of topics will help you get up to speed and writing plug-ins in no time. If you need further details on a topic ample references to the Eclipse documentation or other books that will help you on the subject are provided. All-in-all this book is a great resource for anyone that wants to extend the functionality of Eclipse.


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<pre>Review by : Ernest Friedman-Hill
Rating : 9 horseshoes
</pre>
"Contributing to Eclipse" is a great read. More importantly, as someone who is in the middle of their first major Eclipse plugin development project, I learned a lot -- even though I've previously read every other available book on the topic. Gamma and Beck take you through the development of a fairly sophisticated plugin, step by step. Perhaps most welcome, the plugin they develop isn't a syntax-highlighting text editor (an example that's already been done to death,) but a set of tools for running JUnit tests on Java code!

This is the only book I've seen that discusses testing and Test-Driven Development of plugins, a must for serious plugin developers. As you'd expect from the developers of JUnit, they use JUnit to test every piece of functionality they add. Surprisingly, even though you'd expect some confusing in writing about using JUnit to test a JUnit plugin, there's none. Gamma and Beck are both excellent writers, and they know this subject matter inside out.

A word of warning: this is neither an introduction to nor a reference for Eclipse plugin programming. I don't think I would have gotten nearly as much from this book if I hadn't read "Eclipse in Action" and "The Java Programmer's Guide to Eclipse" first. But if you've gotten beyond the novice level with Eclipse, I guarantee you'll learn something by reading this book.


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