Well, this week I’ve been able to introduce another developer to the Eclipse Web Tools Platform project and it’s been satisfying to see the look of joy on his face as he discover its hidden gems. As well as the standard stuff like HTML syntax highlighting, error highlighting and formatting, there’s also the more powerful stuff like completion on any tag library you want. Sure you can get this sort of thing with MyEclipse, but the WTP is free.
The only catch with this project is that it’s a big one with a couple of dependencies – which makes it much, much easier to install if you just use the Eclipse Update Manager and get it to automatically load dependent frameworks. I’m surprised at the number of developers who still install Eclipse plugins and features using the old-school technique of downloading a zip file and unpacking it into their plugins folder. You can often even upgrade all of Eclipse using the Update Manager!
However, we haven’t been able to use the Update Manager this week as we’ve been working behind a corporate firewall that blocks it for some reason – even after we configure the HTTP proxy access. Initially we resorted to the old-school approach (with all of its consequent difficulties) but then remembered that you can get distributions of Eclipse that are prepackaged with WTP. After that there was no looking back.