This is a follow-up to my previous posting on several Eclipse shortcomings, mostly regarding JSP support. As I was confused by the relationship between the official M1 release of the Eclipse Web Tools Platform Project and the various initial contributions, I did a little more research on this.

It turns out that quite a few people on the Eclipse newsgroups had the same question… The initial contributions (IBM and Lomboz) are now obsolete and will be replaced by the WTP. However, the M1 release only contains very basic functionality and most importantly does not include JSP editing support. In fact, according to the WTP Milestone Plan, support for editing and debugging is only a medium priority for the M2 release (scheduled for December 22) and a high priority for the M3 release (February 25).

The initial focus appears to be on server support, which I think is a big mistake. All of these things are already possible by using Ant, which integrates nicely with Eclipse. Editing JSPs on the other hand requires the use of a third party editor until this functionality is made available in Eclipse. 4 years ago, this may have been acceptable, but in the last few years the ability to edit all components of a project within the same IDE has become pretty standard, and certainly results in much improved productivity.

The best course of action in the interm will probably be to uninstall the WTP M1 release and install either the IBM or the Lomboz contribution. If neither works acceptably, I guess I’ll have to go back to editing my JSPs outside of Eclipse, for example using JEdit. Or persuade my boss to buy me an IntelliJ IDEA license… which would be sad in some ways, as I really like many aspects of Eclipse, and more importantly the idea of relying on open source tools.

To be continued…