Saturday, March 6, 2010

Groovy, Eclipse, and Karmic Koala

OK, eclipse is a widely used development tool and is pretty good, but you know.... It has really stoopid dependency problems that are only getting worse as more and more people build upon it.

For example GRECLIPSE-498 really horks me up. I realize that the debian/ubuntu packaging system is partly to blame, but a major selling point (to me) of the equinox platform is that OSGI is supposed to make things better. This bug is an example of how this goal is not really being met. If I have to redownload the entire eclipse platform every time I want to use a new plugin, I might as well just statically compile everything into one big ball of mud and be done with it.

In fact, it might be an indicator that the goal is not even worth pursuing. If the only way to determine which components I rely on is for the developer of the component to explicitly specify exactly which specific versions of which dependent components are needed, we are doomed to failure.

I'm not sure how we make this better, but re-downloading the entire platform every point release is dumb. I understanding using "non release" revisions puts me out in the bleeding edge, but there is no way for me (or any other developer) to easily fix this problem when trying to simply USE the components.

Maven, you're on my radar too... Managing interdependent components is hard, but we need to make sure we don't make things even harder than they were to begin with.

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