Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Why I hate Eclipse

I'm trying desperately to like the open source IDE Eclipse but I'm finding it incredibly difficult for me to switch from IDEA's IntelliJ. Not to sound like a sales rep, but I mean IntelliJ is so good about doing the smart thing without me even thinking about it. For example when I try to use a new class, IntelliJ automatically underlines the class name and adds a little tooltip over it to tell me that it doesn't recognize the class, but instead of just stopping there it allows me to press Alt+Enter so that it can automatically import the package that contains that class. It doesn't simply highlight the class and put up a little red dot next to the line that I'll have to click. Obviously I'm typing when the IDE realizes that I want to use a new class. There should be no need for me to switch to the mouse in the middle of my typing. That's what makes the IntelliJ feature so great. Not only am I keeping my fingers on the keyboard, its informing me of the most appropriate key stroke to use in my situation.

My second problem is that its just ridiculously slow. I think the problem is not so much that it is slow, but that its not telling me why its slow. That's an important distinction because if I knew what it's spending its time doing, then I could find ways to reduce it. To give you an example, the other day I saw a message no Eclipse saying "java " and one of those progress bar popups informing me that there is an action going on that "blocks user operation". Mind you, I'm not running this class, I believe I was merely opening up the project, but apparently I needed to wait for this "java " to complete whatever it was doing. I found out later that there was a typo in that class and the class probably wasn't compiling. Did Eclipse give me any clue as to what it was doing? Nope! I had to wait 10 minutes and compile all my classes outside of Eclipse to figure it out.

Some ppl say that IntelliJ is slower. Even if it was true, it sure doesn't feel that way. Sure you may experience the occasional time when the IDE pages out its working set of used memory to disk, only to have it page right back in when you shift your focus back, but thats a fault of your OS. Do yourself a favor and go buy an extra gig of ram and turn off file paging in your OS.

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