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Eclipse: Building Commercial-Quality Plug-ins (2nd Edition) Paperback – Mar 22 2006

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 12 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Too many trees, too little forest June 16 2008
By Thomas Maurer - Published on
Format: Paperback
I am writing Eclipse plug-ins for almost two years now and owned this book almost from the beginning. Looking back I must say that the book helped me get started and let me believe "it's possible". As probably many others I was a little intimidated at first by the vast possibilities of the framework.
Now that I am much more experienced I must say that whenever I look into the book it leaves me a little bit disappointed. It only adds little value to the "Platform Plug-in Developer Guide" which is part of the online documentation and already covers a lot.
The book goes into details and code very quickly without explaining the concepts very well. I still use the book every now and then for finding some nuggets not covered elsewhere and sometimes I get lucky but not too often.
Shall you buy this book? If you are a beginner and if you like to learn by programming a sample plug-in then yes. The more proficient you get the more the book will lose its value and you will use other sources of information.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Fantastic book(and a few suggestions) April 22 2008
By AA - Published on
Format: Paperback
If you're planning to write an eclipse plugin, this is THE book to read. The authors have done a fantastic job. Kudos.
Now a few suggestions.
The examples in the book can now be imported in the form of an eclipse plugin. This is great but the examples take a huge leap. For example, chapter 6 introduces you to the concept of views and shows you how to build a simple view with a table and a hard coded set of values. The example in chapter 7 is a huge leap in complexity. It would have been nice to have an example that shows you how to wire events to mouse clicks in the basic "One, Two, Three" view. Instead, the example in chapter 7 tries to do too much. As such, I can only give a limited time to reading the book and going through the examples. The jump in the complexity of the examples from chapter 6 to chapter 7 is like going from "hello world" to socket programming.

Again, my review is based on the perspective of someone who is writing eclipse plugins as productivity tools for my project, not as commercial products that I plan to sell. I may not be the right audience for your fantastic book but I suspect there are a lot of people like me who want to write plugins as productivity tools. Since your book is THE best book on eclipse plugins, I'm sure they'll be referring to it too.

Another thing: Part of the examples from chapter 7 don't seem to work. Specifically, the "add to favorites" button on the toolbar doesn't work because the selection object is of the type TextSelection and not IStructuredSelection. Maybe I'm doing something wrong.

Update: After having actually written a decent eclipse plugin, I have a list of suggestions for people who're just getting started.
1. Eclipse Corner is a very good resource for tips on writing eclipse plugins.
2. If you can't figure out how something is done, try looking for code on google codesearch. For example, lang:java eclipse ASTRewrite
3. If you're using Ganymede, you can see how things are done in the eclipse source code. For example, if you want to see the code that implements the outline view, select the outline view and hit Alt-Shift-F1. This will bring up the plugin spy. It will have a link to the source code that implements the outline view. Of course, the real code for the outline view is buried in a deep hierarchy but you get the general idea.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Some technical aspects are missing Oct. 16 2006
By Andrejus Chaliapinas - Published on
Format: Paperback
While whole book has enough details on plugins UI part, there is no information on third-party integration and plugin class loading issue is not covered enough (authors offer you to write your own jar class loader). Also missed a sample on PreferenceManager usage.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Highly Recommended April 10 2006
By Maupinman - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book covers most of what you would want to know about developing high quality Eclipse plug-ins. By working through this book as a tutorial I have learned more about Java and Eclipse than I ever imagined I would. This is easily one of the most useful books I own and I highly recommend it.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Short on diagrams April 17 2006
By D. Witherspoon - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book is well-written, so I have no complaint there. However, the authors have forgotten that some people are visual learners, and would have done well to provide class hierarchy diagrams where appropriate. This is especially important when presenting full APIs like SWT or the Eclipse Plug-In environment.