We are pleased to announce our first official release of the LDSTech integrated development environment (IDE). The Java Stack team has been working hard on this project for the last several months. In this article, we’ll tell you a little more about what is included in the IDE, the goals behind it, and our future plans.
Why did we release our own IDE?
We created the LDSTech IDE with two main goals in mind:
- Reduce the amount of effort required to get started developing Java Stack applications
- Make developers more efficient in their daily development tasks
Getting started with development can be a time-consuming and frustrating task; developers have to get their development environment set up, find any necessary plug-ins, configure their IDE to work with Java Stack projects, and then import and configure their projects. The steps required to complete these tasks are not always obvious and can add up to many hours of effort just to get started. The LDSTech IDE includes all of the plug-ins required for working with Java Stack projects, configured in an optimal way for development on the LDS Java Stack. It also provides an easy mechanism for importing projects, which are then automatically configured properly by the IDE.
By using the IDE, developers can be up and running with a project in 20 minutes or so, instead of the usual hours (or even days).
Many of the features also provide continual productivity boosts. For example, the IDE allows developers to run common Maven tasks (such as migrating a database) from the IDE itself rather than having to use a command prompt. We also make it easy for developers to make configuration changes in their deployment projects and have those changes immediately take effect on their development server.
Why did we build it on Eclipse?
Eclipse is highly customizable, has a large selection of mature plugins, and lends itself well to redistribution. The LDSTech IDE is targeted at both internal and community developers, which required us to base it on a product that we could redistribute freely. This ruled out other popular IDEs such as IntelliJ. We realize that developers become quite attached to their tools, and we have made an effort to ensure that you can develop Java Stack applications with any IDE, but the Eclipse platform will be the one receiving most of our attention.
Current LDSTech IDE features
Here are a few of the more notable features and plugins included in the LDSTech IDE:
- M2eclipse: Java Stack projects are built using Maven, and m2eclipse allows developers to easily work with those projects. Besides setting the project up for you, the m2eclipse plugin also provides a project object model (POM) editor. It allows you to run Maven commands from the IDE, and it downloads dependencies and sources for you.
- SpringIDE: Spring IDE has several useful tools for working with Spring-based projects. It includes an editor for working with Spring configuration files that gives you auto-completion of bean names (and other elements) and validation of Spring configuration.
- Data Tools Plug-in: The IDE includes an initial integration with the Data Tools Project, which allows developers to work with databases from within your IDE. It comes preconfigured with a connection to the database embedded in our Oracle VM.
- LDSTech Server Adapter: Stack 3.0 is designed to run on Tomcat. We customize the configuration files used by Tomcat to hold application-specific configuration information. The LDSTech Server Adapter automatically does this for you.
- Subclipse: Since all of our projects are hosted on a Subversion server, we added the Subclipse plugin for working with Subversion repositories. Also, we added the m2eclipse connector for Subclipse, which allows you to check out Maven-based projects from a repository and have them automatically set up for you.
- Cheat Sheets: The IDE includes a few cheat sheets that walk you through some common tasks within the IDE. These are meant to help people unfamiliar with Eclipse get up to speed quickly. We'll be adding more of these in the future.
- Google Code Plug-in: The Google Code Plug-in is an available update for the LDSTech IDE (we'll probably bundle it with the IDE itself in 1.1) that makes it easier to work with Google Web Toolkit (GWT) projects. Our integration will automatically configure a Stack-based GWT project.
We are planning on releasing 1.1 of the IDE within the next month or two. It will be built against Eclipse 3.6 and will have several enhancements for working with GWT projects. In the long term, we have plans to add some static analysis tools, improve the database tools, and add an SSO simulator to the IDE. See our current roadmap. Much of the work we do in the future will be dictated by feedback from developers within the community. Feel free to discuss ideas in the Java Stack section of the LDSTech Forum or add enhancement requests to our issue tracker.
Below are some helpful links for downloading and getting more information about the LDSTech IDE.
Spencer Uresk is an engineer for the Church.