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I thought I’d start off this month with something a little different.  I’m going to start blogging about the various tools I use on a daily basis while developing software at REM Web Solutions.  This month, I’m going to talk about the Eclipse IDE, which can be downloaded (for free!) from www.eclipse.org.  Eclipse IDE is available for Windows, Mac and Linux users, so you should be able to find a good fit for your favourite operating system.


What is Eclipse?


Eclipse, by definition, is actually a “community”.  What this means is that Eclipse is a collection of open-source software projects that enable software developers to create, manage and deploy software across multiple platforms (such as Linux, Windows, Mac OS X and almost any mobile platform you can think of).  In a nutshell, however, Eclipse IDE is the community's greatest achievement.  I use Eclipse IDE on a daily basis to write nearly every line of code that goes into our own software projects here at REM.


There are so many different versions of Eclipse! Which one should I choose?


Eclipse IDE comes in many different flavours, sometimes geared toward one type of development versus another, such as Java-only versions, or versions targeted directly at C++ programmers.  I personally use the Eclipse Classic version and apply various plugin upgrades to enable support for the multitude of programming and scripting languages I work with.  As an example of how plugins work, if you are a ColdFusion developer you can easily add ColdFusion support to Eclipse Classic by adding the “CFEclipse” plugin, which you can find instructions on installing, here: http://cfeclipse.org/.


The verdict is in.


On any given day, I write ColdFusion, JavaScript, HTML and SQL Queries from within Eclipse Classic and it never misses a beat.  This isn’t to say that it hasn’t had its own share of problems along the way.  A few years ago I would have said “You’re crazy!” to anyone thinking about using Eclipse for writing all of their code.  However, the times have changed.  Eclipse IDE has so many software developers working their magic at making it a solid development environment that I can proudly claim that it holds its own against other giants of the software development world (think: Visual Studio).  I’ll be covering some of those other IDE projects in future blogs, but I can safely say that I spend more time in Eclipse Classic than any other piece of software on my PC!


Try it out!  I think you’ll agree that Eclipse is a wonderful piece of software.

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