I was pleasantly surprised to find this thread; ironically JavaRanch was my last hope for some help with Eclipse, and I bumped into this thread.
I can totally empathise with Jeff Salter here. I have finally decided to start using Eclipse for my J2EE development and a good few hours ago I downloaded it to attempt a start.
I want to like Eclipse - I really do. All the training courses I've been on already have it up and running with the WTP for J2EE development. Though I use JDeveloper at work, I really want to make the move to Eclipse.
After those few hours of trying to install all the plugins and features just to make it work with J2EE, I have finally given up; at least for the day.
From reading this thread, and from what I now understand about Eclipse, it seems like the learning curve is way too steep.
See, I don't want to have to care about the inner workings of this tool. I don't want to care about learning the framework or its concepts. I don't want to care about how it's built, its architecture, its technologies etc etc. I don't want to care about EMF, GEF, or any other proprietary components. The only thing I care about is using this tool to develop my J2EE Web Apps. Maybe I've got the wrong end of the stick. Maybe Eclipse is supposed to be used in some other way, starting from some other premise. If that's the case then it probably isn't for me.
Which brings me on to the documentation side of things. There isn't a single doc or tutorial I could find to help me out. The only one I was able to find was some university module course that explained how to configure Eclipse to use with J2EE by installing the WTP. I also followed this to the tee and it didn't work.
Before you cry "noob" I've been officially developing J2EE apps with other IDEs for about 3 years - (NetBeans, JBuilder, JDeveloper) and have messed around with many others, none of which gave me this sort of headache. I know what you're thinking; Eclipse isn't an IDE per se right? Well, that actually is besides the point. You are supposed to make it work as a J2EE IDE, but it is precisely this I have been unable to do.
Like I said, I want to like Eclipse - I really do. But maybe I've started with the wrong premise, maybe I shouldn't be expecting to use it as an aid to developing my J2EE Web Apps; maybe it's used for some other purpose I am presently unaware of, and I've just misunderstood the hype.