28 February 2007

Building Commercial-Quality Plugins

This is not review about the book that I’m about to complete before the weekend. Rather, this is just about sharing a few thoughts on what the other group of the computing spectrum(non-web spectrum) is thinking and brewing about. Ever heard of a standalone web application that updates itself by downloading the latest *.jar files once the host PC has become online again? Sounds proposterous? A standalone web application on your desktop or laptop? When you really don’t need other things that comes with it.

This is what building commercial-quality plugin is all about. And the easiest choice is deploying it within a Rich Client Plaform (RCP) shell. And the easiest tool to do this is with Eclipse RCP. Why Eclipse? First, the value because it uses SWT. Like it or not SWT is the “closest thing to metal” when developing Java desktop application.

So what do you have out of the box when you decide to build Java desktop applications with Eclipse RCP? Three of the basic things are:

1. Views, Editors and Perspectives - That you don’t need to build painstakingly.
2. Eclipse Forms - Even better than what .Net can offer.
3. Built-in updating mechanism - That is also used in Rational products. This is also the technology that challenges the reason for developing web applications in the enterprise level.

Change is a hard pill to swallow.

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