Rebuttal : What’s Wrong with the Eclipse Plugin Infrastructure?

Mr. Philipp K. Janert, author of What's Wrong with the Eclipse Plugin Infrastructure? Version 1.1 (2004/03/13 06:44:12) All rights reserved hasn't answered my email sent 6 weeks ago, nor modified a single word of his article. Well, with such a long delay, I presume he is in a well-deserved retirement in Bahamas. Thus, given his absence and inability to correct erroneous informations in his site, someone else (me, for instance !) has to correct the errors displayed in the article. I strongly encourage everybody else who thinks that Eclipse plugin architecture is not as 'wrong' as Philipp thinks to write a few words by email, maybe (when he comes back from Bahamas) he'll manage to fix the problems with his document.

Here we go:

Dear Philipp,

Unfortunately, most of the points from your article “What's Wrong with the Eclipse Plugin Infrastructure?” are wrong :

1. There is a way (albeit, undocumented) allowing you to keep the locally installed plugins between different Eclipse installs. It is covered in some weblogs and this is one of them.

2. Using the workaround described at point 1 you can partially solve point 2 via multiple links to local plugins directory for each user.

3. Is already adressed in 3.0M8 and will be fixed in 3.0 final

4. Is a design choice, also explained by 5

5. Plugins are radically different from simple libraries. The corresponding class hierarchies are loaded (and will be unloaded) on an as-is basis by a special Eclipse classloader. Thus, putting the plugin artifacts in the jvm classpath is not useful in this case.

6. Yes, there is a difference. Please please document thoroughly before writing an article with public exposure.

7. Valid point, will be adressed before 3.0final

8. and 9. are plugin developers issue. Eclipse team do have their naming conventions for plugins, however they cannot enforce it upon external plugin developers.

10. If a plugin has a corresponding feature, you may use the help/software updates/manage configuration page.

11. Again, this is plugin developers responsibility. Each plugin should have a 'welcome' page detailing its functionality. This is clearly stated in the Eclipse guides.

12. See 11

13. Please use the 'Error log' view from 'PDE Runtime'. I have to repeat that documentation, contrary to the public opinion, is a useful thing.

Please make the necessary corrections in your article. The site has a decent Google PageRank and is referenced in some news weblogs, thus it has an important public exposure.


Adrian Spinei