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Eclipse Special: Bill Dudney on the Web Tools Project

Eclipse Special: Bill Dudney on the Web Tools Project

Related Link:
  • JDJ Exclusive Q & A with Mike Milinkovich, Executive Director, Eclipse Foundation


    The Web Tools Project (WTP) went live late last month and I finally had some time to play around with it. I'll summarize what is there in this article and then write up some of the detail over the next couple of weeks.

    The WTP consists of two major contributions, one from IBM and the other ObjectWeb. The IBM contribution consists of pieces of their development tools for WebSphere. The ObjectWeb contribution is what was known as Lomboz. This initial article will focus on the IBM contribution since Lomboz has great online documentation

    The prerequisites for the IBM tools are heavy. You must have EMF, GEF, VE and XSD in order to use the tool set. You also need Eclipse 3.0, if you have not made the upgrade yet it is well worth it.

    The IBM tools are about 54 MB, the prerequisites are 36 MB for a total of 90MB to get started (unless you are a real geek and already have the extra stuff installed). The getting started guide for the IBM contribution has directions on getting everything installed.

    There are seven major chunks of functionality in the IBM contribution:

  • Data Tools - interact with databases. This set offers some great features for looking at, interacting with and debugging your database code. Current version has troubles getting connected to MySQL but the WTP team is working that currently so I'm sure it will be fixed shortly.

  • J2EE Tools - this group of tools allows the creation of and manipulation of J2EE projects, including J2EE EARs, EJBs, Application Clients, Web projects etc. Also seems to extend the package explorer to allow the various 'subproject' things in a J2EE application to be grouped under highe-level headings like 'EJB Projects' and 'Web Projects'.

  • Server Tools - provides support for Tomcat v3.2.x, v4.0.x, v4.1.x, and 5.0.x as well as a generic framework to support other servers (presumably the tomcat support is one instantiation of the framework for each version of tomcat supported). The other cool thing is a TCP/IP monitor that can sit between your browser and the server and show you all the traffic that flows back and forth.

  • Structured Source Editing - the JSP editor allows JSPs to participate in refactorings. Very Cool! Lots of other cool stuff, including an XML editor, CSS editor and JavaScript editor. The JSP, XML and XHTML/HTML editors also provide quick fixes now. The XML editor rocks, when you right click on an element and select the child you want to add and it's done. Another cool feature is that when the element is collapsed the schema definition is shown.

  • Tabbed Property View - Basically looks like additional info can be packed into the properties view. Nice but not earth shattering.

  • XML Tools - Absolutely beautiful schema editor. WSDL, catalogs all kinds of cool stuff here. Did I mention the schema editor, its "da bomb diggity."

  • Web Services Tools - Includes an explorer for Web services that allows you to view the WSDL as well as invoke methods etc. This feature looks really cool. There are also a couple of wizards for creating Web services and clients. I did not see any cheat sheets like I'd expect here.

    Well there is a ton more to be said but that will have to wait for next time.

    Related Link:
  • JDJ Exclusive Q & A with Mike Milinkovich, Executive Director, Eclipse Foundation


  • More Stories By Bill Dudney

    Bill Dudney is Editor-in-Chief of Eclipse Developer's Journal and serves too as JDJ's Eclipse editor. He is a Practice Leader with Virtuas Solutions and has been doing Java development since late 1996 after he downloaded his first copy of the JDK. Prior to Virtuas, Bill worked for InLine Software on the UML bridge that tied UML Models in Rational Rose and later XMI to the InLine suite of tools. Prior to getting hooked on Java he built software on NeXTStep (precursor to Apple's OSX). He has roughly 15 years of distributed software development experience starting at NASA building software to manage the mass properties of the Space Shuttle.

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