> From: Doug Averch
> What does Eclipse bring to the table for U2 Developers? (Slightly
> paraphrased).  Eclipse is an IDE that has plug-ins.

> Symeon Breen replied:
> Much of this isn't what eclipse gives you - it is as a result of
> (or yours) effort in writing the extensions.
> The one thing eclipse gives is that it is an extensible IDE - but so
> inteliJ  and so is Visual Studio, both of which I think are far
better than
> eclipse.  I have bashed eclipse enough on this list before for you
> know my views on it...

Following on to both of those comments... What I'm seeing in this
discussion is that the concept of Eclipse being an extensible IDE is
being acknowledged but largely dismissed. The software itself was
never intended to be a complete package. It's not like "I downloaded
Eclipse, now I can do all of this stuff". It's more like "I downloaded
the main Eclipse component, now I need to add more components to that
to create a toolkit that allows me to do stuff".

This is the difference between freeware and commercially supported
packages. With freeware you get pieces of solutions which you then
assemble - you "pay" for "free" software with your time. There are
companies that will aggregate pieces for you, and sell and support it
as a package - this is the definition of a Linux "distro" which we've
all come to appreciate.  This is what Rocket does with their add-ins
to some extent. U2Logic has made a business of extending Eclipse as it
was designed. Visual Studio is also extensible but most developers
prefer to stick closer to the defaults.  I use NetBeans for PHP and
Java (Android), the extensibility is very similar.

The value of Eclipse is really in the ecosystem that forms around the
core when a Lot of addins are provided by a vibrant developer
community. The software has significant value to PHP and Java
developers because other PHP and Java developers have made investments
in creating that ecosystem.  Our industry is still stuck in the "what
does it do for me?" mode rather than "what can we do to extend the
platform?". We're an industry of product users, not tool developers.
In that mode the platform doesn't really have much value to the target
audience. Are efforts by U2Logic and Rocket Software enough to create
the ecosystem which will make the platform compelling? Doug and the U2
team sure hope so, but they're trying to do this alone and it's not
quite working.  They're building in components and wondering why
everyone out there doesn't "get" it. Why are people still asking these
questions?  Hey, I've been writing addins for Microsoft Office
(another extensible platform seen more as a product) for a decade, and
hoping people would "get" it there too.

I don't think Eclipse is going to have the same respect in this
industry as it does elsewhere until the average person "gets" the
concept of plugins, addons, modules, and extensibility. (And per my
recent blogs I'm hoping people will think about how they can extend
Office to integrate it with their apps as well.) Pick people want
everything in front of them so that they can just get on with their
work, they don't want to think about what "can" be done, they just
want it working now.  That's hardly unreasonable but completely not in
line with the modern world when the ecosystem of collaboration
ultimately creates that environment where people really can just get
on with their work.  I think focus of tool providers needs to shift a
little from "hey, we have these plugins, why don't you use them?" to
"here's information on how to extend Eclipse so you can do this stuff
too".  If some people in the Pick market collaborate on extending
Eclipse in ways that help MV developers, then we'll see more in there
for "us" - just like the PHP and Java folks (and others).

The tough thing about this is that everyone wants someone else to do
this stuff, and usually for free. There is no motivation to create an
ecosystem of helpful tools in a new world where people still confuse
free/libre with free/beer.  This is a separate discussion but we need
to work out some way for developer/consumers in this industry to
compensate other developers with something other than gratitude for
making their daily lives a little better. (Though heck we don't even
have a strong MV FOSS ecosystem, so we're hardly even at the point of
people expressing gratitude for freeware.) This is exactly what the
mobile app markets are all about with 49cent and 99cent apps - sell a
million of those and you don't need to sell for 29.99 or 799.99 per
unit. This is Apple's core model for various product lines, and
Microsoft is going this direction with Windows8 as well. The second
generation of the extensibility model is upon us and Pick people are
still not applying the model to our industry. Adapt or die, folks.

Tony Gravagno
Nebula Research and Development
TG@ remove.pleaseNebula-RnD.com
Nebula R&D sells mv.NET and other Pick/MultiValue products
Worldwide, and provides related development services
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