Friday November 19, 2004
Editing Perl with Eclipse and EPIC
I've been bouncing between development in Perl and Java a lot this, two languages that I both love and loath at various times. One of the things that I love about developing in Java is using Eclipse. This week I decided to give the Eclipse support for Perl a spin. Well, I'll be saving my love for the Java support.
The only gripe I've heard about Eclipse that I haven't had a good answer for is the absense of Emacs key bindings. Otherwise, what's there not to dig about Eclipse?
Support for refactoring
renaming and changing method signatures, moving them around... all with dependent references kept in tact
OK, that falls under refactoring but worthy of its own mention
Source and javadoc stub automation
Spontaneous method stub creation, constructor and accessor creation, javadoc stubs
Test case generation and running
JUnit and ant awareness, yum
Syntactical and semantic error highlighting
Fixing errors early and often is easy cause they're usually obvious
I was hopefull that the EPIC plugin would provide at least some of those things for Perl development. This is what I found:
- Syntax highlighting
- Module outlining
- Dependency checking (i.e. "use" statements validated)
OK, that's a pretty good start. But some things I wanted like syntax completion (i.e. when editing Java, you can type "for", hit shift-space to pull up options to loop over an array or a Collection and voila: a for loop is materialized.
- The semantic checking hangs sometimes (a popup with "Building Workspace (Blocks User Operation) [thermometer bar] Invoking Perl Auto Builder" will just put it under spell for a brief period)
- Sometimes the dependency checking makes mistakes... it'll falsely indicate a problem with a an import (a "use" statement)
- No refactoring, build system, testing or perldoc support
...so basically all of the goodness you get for Java development is lacking for Perl. Nonetheless, I think it's a promising start. I'll be trying the EPIC updates from time to time as new occasions to develop in Perl present themselves.
In the meantime, you can enjoy the fruits of this week's labor by pulling it off of CPAN; that's where you can get
WebService::Technorati. It's also part of the latest release of the Technorati web services SDK. Thanks to David Wheeler for turning me on to Pod::Simple::HTML ...I'm still trying to figure how he gets it to output nice docs from pod, mine didn't come out nearly that purty. Ah well, I guess that'll be part of next week's Perl fun.
( Nov 19 2004, 10:59:25 PM PST )