Thursday, January 20, 2005

Improving J2EE-based projects

Improving J2EE-based projects
Importance of Tools

Have you ever heard of a construction company attempting to build a house without a power saw, electric drill or a tool as fundamental as a hammer? True, a house could be built without today's newfangled equipment. However, construction would take much longer, and the same level of quality would prove nearly impossible to achieve. You could build a hut with your bare hands, but you could build a mansion with the right tools.

Today's developers are no different than a person attempting to build a house. The tools are essential to the developer, both for increasing productivity and for enhancing quality. The tools developers use must enable them to produce the highest-quality code possible in the shortest amount of time, which means that today's integrated development environment (IDE) is no longer simply a tool used to write, debug and compile code. Instead, an IDE must help developers identify whether they are following proper coding conventions and known design patterns, if they're in compliance with industry standards such as Web services, if their code adheres to its contract and if it performs per the requirements. In addition, when developers aren't given the environments necessary to achieve continuous builds and automated testing, an IDE's capabilities become even more important to ensuring the system's quality.

Enter the Eclipse IDE, which provides built-in capabilities that, when used with several plug-ins, can aid in increasing the quality of both the code base and the system. Eclipse is an open, extensible IDE built for anything and nothing in particular. Eclipse's Java development environment is open-source, free and fully customizable. Eclipse both enables and promotes the addition of capabilities via open-source and commercially available custom-built plug-ins. By utilizing Eclipse, along with a key set of plug-ins, it's possible for a developer, and a team, to measure the quality of any J2EE- or Java-based system.

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