Saturday, December 29, 2012
One IDE to Rule Them All
So, yeah, I promised I would blog more and then four months later, here we are. But now is probably a more important time for me to be doing this. I have a lot of things I need to share with the Eclipse community.
As I get deeper and deeper into mobile development with my work as architect of the QNX/RIM Momentics IDE, the more I appreciate the decision we made 10 years ago to build with Eclipse. The frameworks, the ecosystem, and the community are very rich and we all benefit from it. But its not without it's warts and I really need to do what I can to clean that up.
As an example, I'm building a grocery list app for my wife and I so I don't forget things as too often happens. I'm using node.js for the server-side and both a web front end for our laptops, and a mobile front end for our phones, both native Cascades for BB10 and mobile web for others. The challenge is to use a single Eclipse workspace to build all of those components. So far it's OK and there are enough pieces to get started at least. But it's an awkward setup and there are a lot of pieces missing or don't work well, or at least, are very hard to use.
And then I have some long time gripes. Launching in Eclipse is a thing for magicians and witchery. How poor newbies are picking this stuff up boggles my mind. And that's just the one of the usability problems we see. Tool bars seam like random collections of buttons with unclear and often duplicate meanings. Users coming over from Visual Studio and Xcode are faced with a very foreign environment. There, usability experts have driven much of the complexity of project setup and launching down to a few simple concepts. We need the same level focus on usability applied to Eclipse.
One IDE to Rule Them All
I have a vision. I call it "One IDE to Rule Them All". My focus is on mobile apps, but it's clear that the best mobile apps include components in the cloud. We will continue to leverage and contribute to the great frameworks and ecosystem that we've built with Eclipse for as much as we can. But we will have a renewed focus on making sure all those things combine into a Great IDE with a Great user experience.
We have some early ideas on how to make our vision happen. New technologies like e4's modeled UI look promising. But there are a lot of experts in the Eclipse community and we could use your advice. Hopefully working together we can achieve this vision, not just for my needs but for everyone. The greatest asset at Eclipse is it's community and working together is what communities do. And build the One IDE to Rule Them All, we can (sorry Yoda :).