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Keywords: Eclipse, Java IDE, development tools

Title: Eclipse Cookbook

Author: Steve Holzner

Publisher: O'Reilly

ISBN: 0596007108

Media: Book

Level: Introductory

Verdict: Recommended

Steve Holzner, author of O'Reilly's introductory book on Eclipse, returns with the Eclipse Cookbook to help developers get the most of one of the premier development environments. Taking a task oriented approach, the book covers all they key areas of Eclipse and then some.

Starting with the absolute basics - downloading and installing - the book moves on very quickly to answer most of the questions that a new user inevitably asks when faced with Eclipse. The first chapter covers basic skills, which in this case means learning to navigate the multiple perspectives that the IDE offers, learning to create Java classes, edit, run and debug code.

The second chapter looks in more detail at navigating the different perspectives, views, options, toolbars and the rest. The emphasis is on how Eclipse works in terms of the different components on the screen. This is fairly standard stuff that can be picked up just through using the IDE, but it's good to have it down on paper in one place.

The next chapter looks specifically at the Java Development Toolkit (JDT). In addition to showing how to get the most out of the functionality Eclipse provides the Java developer in terms of code completion, refactoring, class/method creation and more, it also looks at how to speed up the JDT, how to create TODO tasks and so on. This is good stuff and there's much here that newer users in particular are bound to find useful.

Other chapters cover building and running code, testing and debugging, using Eclipse with CVS, using Ant, three solid chapters on SWT, using Tomcat and two chapters on creating plug-ins. While the book is organised into chapters, each of these is broken down into sections, one to a task. In all the book promises to cover 'over 175' tasks, but task is a very loose term in this context - it covers everything from downloading Eclipse or a CVS server to actual development tasks such as building run-time configurations, creating Java packages and so on.

There's a wealth of useful material covered in the book, though there's inevitably some cross-over with Holzner's other book. The writing is clear and the book is well-illustrated (in O'Reilly monochrome of course). Coverage of version 3.0 of Eclipse is included, and where some of the tasks are specific to this release it's flagged clearly in the text.

For the Eclipse newbie looking for a wide-ranging but solid introduction this is a good place to look. Having reviewed both of Holzner's books on the subject we'd say that this one has the slight edge on the first book, if only because the task oriented nature of this one makes it much easier to home in on the question you want an answer for. The is a book works as more than just an introduction, it makes for a handy reference too.

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Contents © TechBookReport 2004. Published 31 August 2004