I’m still evaluating Eclipse 3.0 to see if I could imagine switching from IntelliJ IDEA to Eclipse. Overall, I’m still pretty impressed with Eclipse, with the exception of a few shortcomings I mentioned before.

Another important feature that Eclipse lacks out of the box is support for XML editing. I find this somewhat surprising, as pretty much any Java project these days involves XML files (just think about XML config files as used by Struts and other frameworks, or even the web.xml file that every web application has), and being able to edit these in the same IDE as the Java files is very convenient. This is particularly odd because Eclipse already includes support for editing XML-based Ant scripts, and it should be simple enough to at least generalize this functionality to support other XML files as well.

On the positive side, Eclipse’s plugin support comes to the rescue, as there are several XML plugins. The one I’m currently using is XMLBuddy, and it does a great job of filling this gap. The free version adds standard XML editing support, including syntax highlighting, autocompletion, validation against DTD and XML Schema, and an outline view. This is all I usually need and effectively brings Eclipse’s XML support to the same level as IntelliJ IDEA. XMLBuddy Pro adds additional support for XSLT and XML Schema, and at $35 its cost is very reasonable for those who work a lot with these XML features. It is certainly an alternative to the much more expensive XML Spy, although Altova now offers a fairly decent free version of its product as well.