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The Java(TM Developer's Guide To Eclipseby Sherry Shavor
Origin of the Book
Starting in late 1999, the authors formed the core of a group within IBM called the Eclipse Jumpstart team. The team was created to share knowledge of what would become Eclipse technology throughout IBM and with its business partnersthat is, to “jumpstart” the IBM and IBM partner development community on Eclipse. Part of this effort included the creation of a set of presentations, lecture materials, and accompanying exercises. Over the ensuing months, as the Eclipse technology matured, the presentations and exercises matured as well. As the Eclipse community grew to include various companies and academic institutions, requests for this information also grew. After every class we taught, we revised and improved the materials. When our schedules could not keep pace with the demand, we adapted the materials and made them available for use in a self-study mode. This was the genesis of this book. You can think of each chapter in the book as a classroom lesson. The exercises and examples reinforce the concepts of the chapters and provide you with practice using or extending aspects of Eclipse.
The Second Edition
Late 2003 found most of the original authors still actively engaged in Eclipse. We have been unexpectedly and very pleasantly surprised with the public acceptance of the first edition. The public and private commentary on the first edition was very positive. In July 2004 the first edition received an Editors Choice Award from the Java Developers Journal. The authors express their sincerest thanks and appreciation to our many readers. With the first edition barely six months old, we realized that Eclipse 3.0 would be very special and has the potential to take Eclipse to new heights. It will reach a much larger developer community and potentially millions of users now that Eclipse is not limited to integrated development environments (IDEs) but can host any kind of client application. The authors remain passionate about this technology and the opportunities it offers for innovative tools and applications. We decided to create a second edition earlier than planned. Our objectives for the second edition were to upgrade the book to Eclipse 3.0, improve it based on reader feedback, and add a select number of new topics. This edition is nearing the limit in sheer weight and volume that anyone should have to carry. We hope it continues to serve you and the Eclipse community well.
Whats New in the Second Edition
Final screenshots in this book were created just as Eclipse 3.0 was about to ship. There may be minor discrepancies between the images in this book and the final version of Eclipse.
We have several goals in bringing this book to you.
Although the term “Eclipse” conveys the image of a solar event causing darkness, the intent of this book is to shed light, add clarity, and focus on a powerful new platform. Whether you are new to Eclipse or one of the early adopters, we welcome you to the Eclipse community.
Intended Audience and Prerequisites
The audience for this book includes Java programmers who plan to use Eclipse as their development environment, those who will use Eclipse-based offerings, advanced users who want to customize Eclipse further, tool providers who seek to develop tools that will integrate with Eclipse, and application developers who want to use Eclipse as the framework for their client applications. Prior experience with Eclipse is not necessary; however, this book assumes that you are familiar with the Java programming language. While it describes how to use the Java Development Tools provided by Eclipse, it does not teach the syntax and semantics of the Java programming language.
How the Book Is Organized
This comprehensive book can help you learn to use and extend Eclipse. After you have mastered the basics, you will likely use this book as a reference. To help you learn Eclipse, you should start with the Guide to Reading This Book section. It breaks down this formidable text into manageable chunks that you can read in a sequence better suited for learning.
The book is divided into six parts. Part I, Using Eclipse, applies to those using Eclipse as their development environment. The book begins by covering the basic navigation and terminology of Eclipse. You will learn about the Java development environment, including secrets to becoming a power user. Using Eclipse in a team programming environment is explained. You will learn how to use the flexibility of Eclipse to maximize your productivity and fit your own personal style. Students who are studying the Java programming language may find using Eclipse, instead of simply a command line environment, a much more productive and exciting way to learn the richness and power of the language. Instructors may discover how using Eclipse in the classroom will accelerate the students mastery of the language and be a productive tool to use in research.
Part II, Fundamentals of Extending Eclipse, focuses on the important elements of extending Eclipse independent of whether you are extending Eclipse to develop tools or creating a client application. It covers the architecture of Eclipse, how to develop plug-ins, the creation of client applications using the rich client support, how to make your plug-ins extensible to others, and packaging and deployment.
Part III, Extending the Eclipse Workbench, covers the most commonly required topics to extend Eclipse functionality. Using the Eclipse architecture as a base, Part III covers the frameworks needed to extend the Eclipse user interface. It covers basic graphical user interface (GUI) development using the Standard Widget Toolkit (SWT), dialogs and wizards, menus, viewers, views, editors, perspectives, and online documentation.
Part IV, Extending the Eclipse IDE, focuses on those services that apply when extending Eclipse as an IDE. This is in contrast to Part II, which covers services that apply to both IDE-based and non-IDE-based applications. Part IV includes topics like accessing the workspace and extending the Java Development Tools.
Part V, Extensibility Special Topics, rounds out your knowledge of Eclipse by covering a variety of topics that you may not need right away or that are specialized to specific situations. Chapters covering serviceability, Swing interoperability, concurrency, capabilities, performance tuning, OLE and ActiveX support (Windows), and internationalization are among the topics in Part V.
Learning in a programming environment without actually writing code is difficult. Part VI, Exercises, contains a series of detailed exercises to reinforce the concepts presented in the book. Part VI depends on the files included on the CD-ROM. The CD-ROM contains solutions to all of the exercises and contains many code samples augmenting the material in the chapters. The exercises do not depend on one another, so you can perform them in any order.
Many chapters contain a reference to the book Official Eclipse 3.0 FAQs by John Arthorne and Chris Laffra (Boston, MA: Addison-Wesley, 2004). We recommend it as a complementary addition to this book. Specific frequently asked questions (FAQs) that augment the chapter content are cited in the chapter references and on the CD-ROM. See also http://eclipsefaq.org.
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