Emacs, Emacs, why not Eclipse?

I’m an android developer, meaning that most of my job involves Java and XML. There is a lot of circle-jerk (I don’t know a better word for it, unfortunately) regarding these two technologies, and in fact I see some problems with Java, indeed. But it is a tool that does a good job at the end of the day, and JVM is a good and mature technology.

With all my “Emacs this, Emacs that”, maybe you’re thinking why I don’t using a “modern” IDE, like eclipse or NetBeans.

Well, since I’m a android developer, I actually use eclipse on my day-to-day work. There are three main reasons for that.

  1. Java is a dense language, with lots of classes and methods and types. With Android’s SDK, this is get even bigger. An IDE helps me to find myself out.
  2. ADT is really well integrated with Eclipse, providing a lot of features that are easily accessed.
  3. I never really got JDEE working on Emacs 24, much less android’s modes.

Since Emacs’ shortcut keys are starting to get hardwired in my brain, I installed the extension called Emacs+ (only available on Eclipse Indigo). There are a few things that I miss (if only it were a ELisp parser…), but I’m mostly happy with it.

Well, mostly. There are a few things that I really dislike about eclipse. When it gets in my way. When it doesn’t recognizes things that are there. When there is no other easy way of doing a task besides going to the mouse.

But how does eclipse gets in my way?

Well, I don’t understand exactly how and why, but sometimes eclipse will “hold” a file and no other program will be able to use the same file, even if it is already saved and I’m not doing anything on it. This is a HUGE problem if you, like me, uses version control on the command line because of the flexibility it provides.

Sometimes eclipse will only let me use the file if I close it inside of eclipse. But sometimes I don’t want to. I want it to remain open, because it’s terrible to reopen it.

Maybe this is my fault. I really don’t know.

And what am I talking about when I say that it doesn’t recognizes things that are there?

Sometimes, eclipse won’t start the main activity because, for it, the activity does not exist. Even if it does. Even if I can open it directly on the device.

Finally, about going to the mouse: I’m an incorrigible keyboard adept. My text editor won’t ask me to use the mouse. My window manager will avoid the mouse. I hardly ever use my file manager because I find more practical to do a lot of tasks on a terminal. When I can’t do that on eclipse because it thinks that mouse is easier, I get pissed.

I know, I know that eclipse has lots of shortcut keys and I can edit them. But it seems that eclipse is not meant to be used this way.

Oh, this reminds me of one last thing: customize eclipse is boring as hell. If it had a scripting language, like Emacs Lisp, vim script, Ruby, Python, or whatever, sometimes it would be just better. Eclipse is a programmer’s tool, why not benefiting from that?


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