Making the Most out of Eclipse


As part of the BlackBerry® Developer Relations team here at RIM, we are continually working with our development teams to design and deliver improvements to the developer tools available for building applications for BlackBerry smartphones.

In general, the most popular development tools in the market are Eclipse and Microsoft® Visual Studio®. Today I want to share some more with you on what Eclipse means for BlackBerry development, and what some of our philosophies and goals are moving forward for these tools.

We definitely understand the power and flexibility of Eclipse for many different types of development. This is the key reason why we have really been moving forward with a plug-in approach to Eclipse for both our Java and Web tooling and moving away from our traditional Java Development Environment.

We have been taking feedback and suggestions from the community and are now looking at our integration with Eclipse from a new angle. This new vision is apparent in our recently introduced Eclipse Web tooling for BlackBerry Widgets as well as combining that with major changes in the BlackBerry Java Plug-in for Eclipse version 1.1.

We really want to let Eclipse do what it does best, and add in BlackBerry tooling functionality where it is needed (BlackBerry Simulator support, Debugging, etc.). This allows you as a developer to use Eclipse for your development exactly as you would for any other project.

Some of the enhancements to v1.1 are:

  • Getting started page: Easy access to BlackBerry KB articles, videos and BlackBerry® Developer Zone content
  • Support for Eclipse project artifacts and folder structures: Compatibility with source code control systems and Eclipse methodologies
  • Leverage familiar Eclipse functionality for BlackBerry development: Enable use of Eclipse features such as multiple source folders in a project, Eclipse variables, file and folder linking in projects, refactoring, working sets and launch configurations, and inclusion/exclusion patterns in projects
  • Support for multiple BlackBerry OS versions within a workspace: Reduced development time, cleaner project organization
  • Define project properties in a BlackBerry Application Descriptor File: XML-based files enable easy maintenance and tracking of changes using a source control system
  • Wizard to import sample applications or BlackBerry® Java® Development Environment (BlackBerry JDE) based projects into a workspace: Reduced development lifecycle

If you have suggestions and/or feature requests for our Java tooling, please be sure to leave me some comments on this post, because it is your feedback that will continue to help us shape our tooling.

About Tim W.

Tim is an Open Source Technical Lead at BlackBerry, focusing on WebWorks, HTML5, and Open Source.

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