The best craftsmen insist on the best tools. Craftsmen know producing quality work requires having the right tools and the expertise to use them effectively.
The software engineer has the same needs as the craftsman, and the right tools, coupled with the knowledge and skill necessary to use them, are essential ingredients for the rapid development of quality software. This chapter focuses on the importance of integrated development tools and covers the features a tool should offer to assist the software engineer in the task of developing J2EE solutions. It introduces the Eclipse platform as an example of an integrated development environment (IDE) and discusses the features a tool should provide to assist in the development of enterprise-level software for the J2EE platform.
Eclipse is covered because it fits the criteria of being open source. There are many other effective development tools available, such as JBuilder, IntelliJ IDEA, and NetBeans. Each offers a range of powerful features for software development. The concepts described using Eclipse are representative of the functionality you should look for in similar tools.
In addition to examining the benefits of IDEs for rapid development, we discuss how an IDE makes it possible to debug J2EE applications with the Java Platform Debugging Architecture (JPDA) and how this architecture supports the use of advanced techniques such as remote debugging and hot swapping.